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The Confrontation Clause and the Case of Aaron Von Ehlinger

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Imagine that you’re accused of a crime. For our purposes that crime is murder. A body is found. An anonymous tipster testifies to the police that they saw you commit the murder. It just so happens that the murder was committed outside of your place of residence. You are apprehended by the police and questioned about your whereabouts the night of the murder. You were at home where you always are. The victim is identified as your neighbor, with whom you’ve feuded for years. Your mug is plastered all over the pages of the news, and every association that you have in life is cut off. Who wants to be associated with a murderer?

This scenario is all too common in modern affairs. You may be familiar with the case of Richard Jewell. Jewell was a security contractor for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. On July 26, 1996, a backpack full of explosives and debris like nails is detonated during a public event at Centennial Olympic Park, killing one and injuring a dozen or so others. Richard Jewell was quickly identified as a suspect for several reasons. Primary among those reasons, Jewell was in proximity to the bomb and also filmed purchasing nails from a local hardware store. His name and photo appeared on the front page of every newspaper in the country and he was vilified as a ruthless killer. Only there was a problem with this narrative: Jewell was innocent and law enforcement and the press identified the wrong man in their haste. Jewell would eventually win a defamation lawsuit against the government and the press, but years later he dies lonely and isolated. The damage was done.

The example of Richard Jewell provides a stark reminder of why due........

© American Thinker

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