Court Decision: Confrontation Clause Violation Requires New Trial

Appellate Division, Second Department: People v. Franklin

Confrontation Clause Violation Requires New Trial

Following a jury trial, Mr. Franklin was convicted of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. According to the prosecution, the police recovered a gun in the basement of a home where he allegedly lived. At trial, the court admitted into evidence a Criminal Justice Agency form that listed Mr. Franklin’s address as the basement of the home. The employee of the Criminal Justice Agency who testified about the form did not create it, and the prosecution did not establish that the creator of the form was unavailable. The Appellate Division reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial, holding that Mr. Franklin’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation was violated. Defense counsel was never given the opportunity to cross-examine the individual who created the form, and the testifying witness did not prepare the form. Critically, the form was admitted in order to establish an essential element of the weapon possession count. Accordingly, a new trial was required.

Hannah Kon represented Mr. Franklin