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State v. Williamson

New Jersey Supreme Court

May 10, 2021

In State v. Williamson, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision on the intersection of a criminal defendant’s right to confront his accuser and the dying declaration exception to the hearsay rule. Here, the victim was shot five times. When the victim awoke in the hospital and was informed of her critical injuries, she became distraught. Officials had already focused the investigation on the defendant and showed the victim his photo. In a recorded exchange with investigators, the victim identified the defendant as her assailant. She died eleven months later. The State played the victim’s statement for the jury, which convicted the defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed and held that the statement was properly admitted as a dying declaration. The Court then held that admission of the evidence did not violate the confrontation clause.

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