Samia v. United States

2023 WL 4139001 (2023)

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Samia v. United States

United States Supreme Court
2023 WL 4139001 (2023)

KL

Facts

Adam Samia (defendant) traveled to the Philippines to work for a crime lord, Paul LeRoux. LeRoux asked Samia and two other associates, Joseph Hunter and Carl Stillwell, to kill a local real estate broker named Catherine Lee because LeRoux believed Lee stole money from him. Lee was found dead shortly thereafter, shot twice in the face. Samia, Hunter, and Stillwell were arrested. During a post-arrest interview, Stillwell confessed to having been in the van when Lee was killed, claiming that he drove the van and that Samia killed Lee. Samia, Hunter, and Stillwell were charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire, murder for hire, and other crimes and were tried together. During the trial, the government’s theory was that Hunter paid Stillwell and Samia to pose as real estate buyers, visit properties with Lee, and kill her during transit. Stillwell refused to testify, so a federal agent testified to Stillwell’s confession, stating that Stillwell admitted that the “other person” in the van with him killed Lee while Stillwell was driving. Samia’s name was not used, and the trial court instructed the jury during the testimony and prior to deliberations that the confession testimony was admissible only as to Stillwell and should not be considered as to Samia or Hunter. All three men were convicted on all counts. Samia appealed, arguing that admission of Stillwell’s confession violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment because it permitted the jury to infer that Samia was the “other person” referenced in Stillwell’s confession based on other statements the government presented during trial, such as the fact that Samia and Stillwell were roommates and that Samia owned a gun like the one used to kill Lee. In addition, the prosecutor told the jury during opening statements that Samia rode in the van with Stillwell and Lee. The Second Circuit rejected Samia’s arguments, and Samia appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

Concurrence (Barrett, J.)

Dissent (Jackson, J.)

Dissent (Kagan, J.)

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