In 2004, Justice Antonin Scalia ruled, in a case styled Crawford v. Washington, that the Constitution demanded defendants be afforded the right, without exception, to cross-examine their accusers a ruling that ultimately (should have, at least) quashed any hope prosecutors might have had that their wiggling with the Sixth Amendment in Springsteen's case might actually pass constitutional muster. Nonetheless, the CCA sat on the case for another two years before citing Crawford to toss the case back into the lap of Travis Co. District Attorney Ronnie Earle.
The Supremes' Monday ruling means prosecutors must either retry Springsteen or set him free. Not surprisingly, prosecutors have said they will opt for the former, vowing to retry Springsteen though without the bolstering confession of defendant Michael Scott (who was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the crime) it is hard to imagine how they'll manage to secure another conviction. Indeed, there are major problems with the state's case including the existence of physical evidence at the crime scene that does not match any of the four victims or the four men accused of the crime, and the dearth of evidence tying Springsteen to the crime, save for partially inculpating statements he made to police in 1999 after hours of interrogation.
For more on Springsteen and the yogurt shop case, see Somebody Has to Die," June 15, 2001.
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