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State v. Jensen

Kenosha County Circuit Court
46 P.3d 536 (2002)


Facts

Mr. Jensen was charged with killing Mrs. Jensen. The prosecution sought to introduce into evidence a letter from Mrs. Jensen which stated her belief that Mr. Jensen would kill her. The letter was delivered to the police by Jensens’ neighbor who had instructions from Mrs. Jensen to give it to a police officer if anything happened to her. The trial court found that introduction of the letter would violate Mr. Jensen’s Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him. The state supreme court ruled that if the trial court could determine by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Jensen helped cause the violation of that right by murdering Mrs. Jensen and making her unavailable, then he forfeited the right. However, in the middle of the remanded trial, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on a very similar matter. Fearing the need for a retrial after the Supreme Court’s decision, the trial judge chose to make a determination about whether the letter was admissible as a dying declaration.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schroeder, J.)

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