Mesha Sloss

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



Civil Rights, Constitutional Interpretation

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


In Crawford v. Washington, the Supreme Court declared that an accused right under the Constitution to confront the witnesses against him applied only to “testimonial statements.” That decision, however, did not attempt to fully define the scope of testimonial statements. This commentary analyzes Ohio v. Clark, a case which will decide the question of whether statements made by a child to a person with a duty to report allegations of child abuse are testimonial statements. In this case a young child was questioned at school by a teaching assistant about his injuries. This statement was then offered in the criminal trial of the accused abuser without the child testifying. The Author argues that this statement, applying the test of Davis v. Washington, qualifies as non-testimonial and so survives the challenge under the Confrontation Clause.