People v. Diggins, 2016 IL App (1st) 142088 (May). Episode 182 (Duration 5:14)
Is an Illinois State Police certified letter saying Defendant has no FOID testimonial in nature?
Defendant was convicted of AUUW.
The State admitted a “certified letter” from the Firearm Service Bureau of the Illinois State Police, which stated defendant was denied an FOID because he had a pending felony charge.
The State argued it was a self-authenticating document because it was “a certified document with a seal bearing the signature and seal of the office.”
Defense counsel objected, stating that this was not a document kept in the normal course of business, and rather it was the result of a specific request by the State. The trial denied the objection because “the document speaks to a review of documents kept in the normal course of business” and it was certified document of a governmental agency.
“Testimonial statements of witnesses absent from trial have been admitted only where the declarant is unavailable, and only where the defendant has had a prior opportunity to cross-examine.” Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 59 (2004).
In regards to what is a testimonial statement the Court said:
“Various formulations of this core class of testimonial statements exist: ex parte in-court testimony or its functional equivalent – that is, material such as affidavits, custodial examinations, prior testimony that the defendant was unable to cross-examine, or similar pretrial statements that declarants would reasonably expect to be used prosecutorially, extrajudicial statements … contained in formalized testimonial materials, such as affidavits, depositions, prior testimony, or confessions, [citation] statements that were made under circumstances which would lead an objective witness reasonably to believe that the statement would be available for use at a later trial.” Crawford, 541 U.S. at 51-52.
However, this certificate was clearly testimonial in nature.
It was made under circumstances which would lead an objective witness reasonably to believe that the statement would be available for use at a later trial.
Thus, absent a showing that the witness was unavailable to testify at trial and that defendant had a prior opportunity to cross-examine him, defendant was entitled to be confronted with the witness at trial.
Reversed and remanded for a new trial.