A six-Justice majority of the Washington Supreme Court ruled in State v. Dobbs (No. 87472-7) that there was sufficient evidence that the defendant had forfeited his Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser by causing her (through violence and threats) to protect herself by refusing to testify at trial. Three Justices dissented, largely because they viewed the evidence differently and did not see clear, convincing, and cogent evidence (as required to establish forfeiture) that the defendant’s conduct caused the absence of the witness at trial.

Background:

The jury in Dobbs found Dobbs guilty of numerous crimes of domestic violence against C.R., including stalking, felony harassment, intimidating a witness, and drive-by shooting. The question presented on appeal was a narrow one: whether the trial court proceedings violated Dobbs’ Sixth Amendment rights because C.R. did not appear as a witness at trial.

Continue Reading The Sixth Amendment Guarantees Criminal Defendants A Right To Confront The Witnesses Against Them, But Not If The Defendant Intentionally Causes The Absence Of A Witness At Trial