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Circuit court’s failure to sever didn’t deny defendant’s fair trial rights

State v. Jarmel Dontra Chisem, 2017AP1114-CR, 3/5/19, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Chisem, facing charges of first degree reckless homicide and first degree recklessly endangering safety, moved to sever his case from that of his co-defendant, Davis. The court of appeals holds trying the two together was fine.

Among other things, the State planned to call witnesses who would testify to inculpatory statements by Davis; but Davis himself was not going to testify, so Chisem couldn’t cross-examine him.  Also, Davis’s testimony would be inadmissible hearsay if Chisem were tried alone. But, the court of appeals holds, Davis’s statements were to other citizens, not law enforcement, and so were not testimonial. (¶¶21-33). And even if the statements were inadmissible hearsay–something the court assumes without deciding–their admission was harmless. (¶¶34-37).

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