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Violation of Right to Confront Witnesses Was Harmless Error

The right to confront witnesses in a criminal case is guaranteed by both the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. But violation of the right to confront witnesses does not necessarily invalidate a criminal conviction if the error is determined to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Clark, M2012-01744-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 11-21-13), the Court of Criminal Appeals determined the State violated confrontation rights by allowing the use of a video recorded deposition rather than a live witness at trial (absent 'extraordinary circumstances' which would have allowed the substitution of the deposition). However, the Court found the error to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

Violation of Right to Confront Witnesses Was Harmless Error

The right to confront witnesses in a criminal case is guaranteed by both the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. But violation of the right to confront witnesses does not necessarily invalidate a criminal conviction if the error is determined to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Clark, M2012-01744-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 11-21-13), the Court of Criminal Appeals determined the State violated confrontation rights by allowing the use of a video recorded deposition rather than a live witness at trial (absent 'extraordinary circumstances' which would have allowed the substitution of the deposition). However, the Court found the error to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

Violation of Right to Confront Witnesses Was Harmless Error

The right to confront witnesses in a criminal case is guaranteed by both the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. But violation of the right to confront witnesses does not necessarily invalidate a criminal conviction if the error is determined to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. In the recent Tennessee case of State v. Clark, M2012-01744-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 11-21-13), the Court of Criminal Appeals determined the State violated confrontation rights by allowing the use of a video recorded deposition rather than a live witness at trial (absent 'extraordinary circumstances' which would have allowed the substitution of the deposition). However, the Court found the error to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

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