United States v. Williams, No. 05-6036-cr (2d Cir. October 23, 2007) (Newman, Walker, Straub, CJJ).
In this curious but very troubling case, the court seems to have concluded, sub silentio, that Crawford trumps Bruton.
Brothers Bobby and Michael Williams were tried for a drug-related triple homicide. Neither brother testified. At trial, over objection, the court permitted two civilian witnesses to testify that, after the shootings, Bobby made statements to them admitting his involvement in the shootings. Some of those statements implicated Michael. On appeal, Michael argued that the admission of Bobby’s statements violated the Confrontation Clause and Fed.R.Evid. 804(b)(3).
Obviously, Michael’s Confrontation Clause claim raises Bruton issues; indeed, this is the classic Bruton situation – the out-of-court statement of one defendant is used against a co-defendant. But here, the court never even got to Bruton. It held that Bobby’s out of court remarks were not “testimonial” under Crawford, and thus …