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Admission of video and recorded statements did not violate Sixth Amendment

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The defendant in a drug trial was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his constitutional right to confront a witness was violated when the confidential informant did not testify at trial.

Antonio Vaughn was convicted by a jury and sentenced to an aggregate 40-year term for two counts of dealing in cocaine, each as a Class A felony, and one count of maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony. He was arrested and charged after a confidential informant made two controlled buys which the Terre Haute Police Department recorded on video.

At trial, the videos, photographs, recording of telephone calls and statements made during those calls were admitted into evidence.

On appeal, Vaughn argued the evidence was inadmissible and highly prejudicial hearsay. In addition, he claimed because the confidential informant did not take the stand, the admission of evidence violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witness along with his right to a fair trial under the Due Process Clause.

The Court of Appeals rejected those arguments and affirmed Vaughn’s conviction in Antonio L. Vaughn v. State of Indiana, 84A01-1302-CR-57.

Citing Williams v. State, 930 N.E.2d 602, 607 (Ind. Ct. App.), the Court of Appeals held the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment does not prohibit “the use of testimonial statements for purposes other than establishing the truth of the matter asserted.”

The videos and pictures of the controlled drug buys between Vaughn and the confidential informant only showed the conduct of the two parties and, according to the COA, were not meant to be an assertion.

The audio recordings of the telephone calls between Vaughn and the confidential informant did not constitute hearsay, the Court of Appeals ruled. The statements made by the confidential informant were designed to prompt Vaught to speak and were not offered for the truth of the matter asserted.

 
 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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