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Davis v. Alaska - The Facts Of The Case, The Majority Decision, The Dissent, Impact, Separate Rights For Juveniles?

petitioner william witness court

Petitioner

Joshaway Davis

Respondent

State of Alaska

Petitioner's Claim

By being prohibited from cross-examining a prosecution witness regarding the witness's status as a juvenile offender (under a state law protecting the anonymity of juvenile offenders), petitioner was denied his right to confront witnesses under the Sixth (and Fourteenth) Amendments.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Robert H. Wagstaff

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Charles M. Merriner

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Potter Stewart

Justices Dissenting

William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

27 February 1974

Decision

A defendant's right to confront and cross-examine witnesses outweighs a state's interest in protecting the anonymity of a juvenile offender when the juvenile is a witness for the prosecution in a criminal case.

Significance

Further reinforces the importance of Sixth Amendment protections for criminal defendants.

Related Cases

  • Alford v. United States, 282 U.S. 687 (1931).
  • Pointer v. Texas, 380 U.S. 400 (1965).
  • Olden v. Kentucky, 488 U.S. 227 (1988).
  • Idaho v. Wright, 497 U.S. 805 (1990).

Sources

Levy, Leonard W. ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. New York: Macmillan, 1986.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Price, Jason M. "Sex, Lies, and Rape Shield Statutes: The Constitutionality of Interpreting Rape Shield Statutes to Exclude Evidence Relating to the Victim's Motive to Fabricate." Western New England Law Review, Vol. 18, no. 541, 1996.
Delaware v. Prouse - Significance, Impact, Drunk Driving And Drug Use, Further Readings [next] [back] Daniel James White Trial: 1979 - Double Execution, Unique Defense

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