Rainwater Law Group

Effective Criminal Defense

Carlson v. Attorney General of the State of California, No. 13-16535 [June 26, 2015]

Carlson v. Attorney General of the State of California

Carlson was charged with willful infliction of harm or injury to a child, his 7-year-old son. At trial, Carlson wife and his son did not appear in court, the trial court allowed, under the “forfeiture-by-wrongdoing” doctrine, a police officer to testify to their statements shortly after the incident. The “forfeiture-by-wrongdoing doctrine applies where there has been affirmative action on the part of the defendant that produces the desired result, non-appearance by a prospective witness against him in a criminal case.” The Court upheld the State Court’s use of the doctrine as the evidence supported a finding that Carlson engaged in conduct designed to keep the witnesses from testifying, using the AEDPA standard of giving state-court decisions the benefit of the doubt.

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