EVIDENCE - USE OF CONFESSION OR ADMISSION
WITH MULTIPLE DEFENDANTS
(A confession)/(An admission) may not be considered by you against any defendant other than the person who made the confession/admission.
Notes on Use
This instruction shall be used if a codefendant's confession is admitted at a joint trial. Admission of a nontestifying codefendant's confession is allowable only if its admission does not violate the Confrontation Clause.
In Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 (1968), the United States Supreme Court prohibited use of a codefendant's confession at a joint trial. It held that where the confession of a codefendant implicates the defendant, but the codefendant who made the statement does not testify, a cautionary instruction that the confession was admissible only in regard to the defendant who made it provided an inadequate safeguard of the nonconfessing defendant's rights to confrontation and cross-examination. Similarly, in Lee v. Illinois, 476 U.S. 530 (1986), the United States Supreme Court held that a judge's reliance upon a codefendant's confession in a bench trial violated the defendant's rights to confrontation. The Court determined that the confession lacked sufficient "indicia of reliability" to be admissible. 476 U.S. at 546.
In Cruz v. New York, 481 U.S. 186 (1987), the Supreme Court extended the Bruton rule to cases where both the defendant's and codefendant's confessions were introduced at their joint trial. The Supreme Court distinguished Bruton, however, in Richardson v. Marsh, 481 U.S. 200 (1987), where it held that a codefendant's confession may be admitted at a joint trial if the confession did not incriminate the defendant on its face and there was a proper limiting instruction. The Supreme Court ruled that incrimination could be avoided by redacting the confession to eliminate not only the defendant's name but any reference to his or her existence. 481 U.S. at 211.