by Daniel Cook*
The Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause calls into question an increasingly common practice during the COVID-19 pandemic: testimony by two-way video teleconferencing at criminal trials. Proponents of video testimony argue that it is consistent with Maryland v. Craig, which held that the Confrontation Clause might be satisfied absent a physical confrontation as long as the denial of confrontation is necessary for trial and the testimony’s reliability is otherwise assured. Opponents of video testimony rely on Crawford v. Washington, which was decided two decades after Craig and held that the Sixth Amendment’s original meaning categorically mandates confrontation, at least with respect to testimonial hearsay. Importantly, Crawford held that judicial determinations of reliability are an insufficient basis for departing from the original meaning of the Confrontation Clause. Although Crawford did not directly address video testimony, some courts and commentators believe that Crawford supplanted Craig with a categorical rule requiring face-to-face confrontation, which video testimony may violate. This Contribution argues that Crawford embodied a sea change in Confrontation Clause jurisprudence, such that Craig no longer governs the admissibility of video testimony at criminal trials.