Co-Defendant Statements and Joint Trials

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning took up a case on the perennial knotty problem of the admissibility of co-defendant statements in joint trials. The case is Samia v. United States, No. 22-196. The out-of-court statement of one defendant is admissible against the defendant who made it, but generally not to incriminate other defendants.

Here is the Question Presented as stated by the petitioner:

Whether admitting a codefendant’s redacted out-of-court confession that immediately inculpates a defendant based on the surrounding context violates the defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment.

And here is the alternate phrasing by the government:

Whether the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause precluded the admission at a joint trial of a modified version of a non-testifying co-defendant’s statement, which did not facially inculpate petitioner and was accompanied by a limiting instruction that it be considered only against the co-defendant, on the theory that other trial evidence would lead the jury to link it to petitioner.

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