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Michigan v. Bryant

United States Supreme Court
562 U.S. 344 (2011)


Facts

At 3:25 a.m. on April 29, 2001, police arrived at a gas station in response to a reported shooting and they found Anthony Covington in severe pain suffering from a gunshot wound to his abdomen. As the officers arrived at different times, they each asked Covington questions about what had happened, who had shot him and where the shooting occurred. Covington responded that Richard (“Rick”) Bryant (defendant) had shot Covington through the door while Covington was on Bryant’s back porch and was turning to leave. Covington, who fled after being shot, described Bryant’s physical appearance and gave the location of Bryant’s home about six blocks from the gas station where police found him. Covington did not know Bryant’s location at the time of the questioning. While answering the officers’ questions, Covington asked repeatedly when emergency medical service providers would be arriving. Emergency medical services transported Covington to the hospital shortly thereafter and he died a few hours later. A subsequent search of Bryant’s house turned up blood and a shell casing on the back porch and a bullet hole in the door. Bryant, however, had left. At Bryant’s trial for murder, the State offered the statements Covington made to police at the gas station. The trial court admitted the statements as excited utterances. The Michigan Supreme Court reversed the trial court, ruling that Covington’s statements were testimonial and did not fall within the emergency exception in Davis v. Washington, 547 U.S. 813 (2006). The State appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

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Holding and Reasoning (Sotomayor, J.)

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Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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