Three-year-old Nathan Siler told Detective Larry Martin that he wanted to see his mother who, Nathan claimed, was "sleeping standing" in the garage. Tragically, Nathan's mother was dead, hanging from a "yellow cord tied to the track of the overhead garage door." Nathan told Martin that he had seen his father, Brian Siler, and mother fight in the garage the night before and that his father had placed a "yellow thing" around his mother's neck. But Nathan apparently did not understand his mother was dead.

Because Nathan did not testify at Brian's murder trial and the trial court admitted Nathan's statements as evidence without Brian's counsel ever cross-examining Nathan, Brian claimed that the trial court had violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that "[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him." In Crawford v. Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a "witness[] against" the accused was one "who bear[s] testimony." According to the Court, the Confrontation Clause was primarily concerned with "testimonial hearsay." Thus a witness is a person who makes a statement that is "testimonial" by nature. Based on this definition, the Court held that the Confrontation Clause bars "admission of testimonial statements of a witness who did not appear at trial unless he was unavailable to testify, and the defendant had had a prior opportunity for cross-examination." Brian claimed that his son, Nathan, was such a witness...

 

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