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BRUTON V. UNITED STATES, 391 U. S. 123 (1968)

U.S. Supreme Court

Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 (1968)

Bruton v. United States

No. 705

Argued March 11, 1968

Decided May 20, 1968

391 U.S. 123


A joint trial of petitioner and one Evans resulted in the convictions of both for armed postal robbery. Evans did not take the stand, but a postal inspector testified that Evans confessed orally that he and petitioner committed the robbery. The trial judge instructed the jury that, although Evans' confession was competent evidence against him it was inadmissible hearsay against petitioner and had to be disregarded in determining petitioner's guilt or innocence. Evans and petitioner both appealed to the Court of Appeals. That court set aside Evans' conviction on the ground that the oral confession should not have been received against him, but affirmed petitioner's conviction in view of the trial judge's instructions, relying on Delli Paoli v. United States, 352 U. S. 232.

Held: Because of the substantial risk that the jury, despite instructions to the contrary, looked to the incriminating extrajudicial statements in determining petitioner's guilt, admission of Evans' confession in the joint trial violated petitioner's right of cross-examination secured by the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Delli Paoli v. United States, supra, overruled. Pp. 391 U. S. 126-137.

375 F.2d 355, reversed.

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