codefendant

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Suppose two defendants, Able and Baker, are jointly tried as codefendants before a trial jury for the same criminal offense. Prior to opening statements, however, Able confesses to the crime out of court, but the confession also implicates Baker. Able’s confession is admissible hearsay evidence insofar as it inculpates Able, but such a confession deprives Baker of his right to confront and cross-examine any witness against him. In such an instance, Able’s confession may not be admitted in court in its entirety. In Bruton v. United States (391 U.S. 123 (1968)), the Supreme Court held that a defendant’s out-of-court oral confession which also inculpated his codefendant was not subject to cross-examination and therefore violative of the codefendant’s constitutional right of confrontation. Thus, the defendant’s extrajudicial statements were inadmissible hearsay.