Nilanjana Ganguly 28 Jan 2020



Meaning- Certiorari is a latin word which means "to be fully informed". A writ of Certiorari orders the lower court to deliver its record in a case to the higher court for further reviews.

United States Supreme Court uses Certiorari to select most of the case it hears.

How is Certiorari different from Prohibition?

While the prohibition writing is available during the pending proceedings, it is only after the order or decision has been announced that the certiorari writ can be resorted to.

The conditions necessary for issuing a certiorari writ-

·         There should be a judge, tribunal or officer with legal authority to assess the issue with a duty to take legal action.

·         Such a court, tribunal or officer must have issued an order in that case, tribunal or officer acting without jurisdiction or beyond the scope of the judicial authority vested by statute.

·         The order may also contravene the standards of natural justice or the order may include an error of judgment in determining the facts of the case.


Name of the case-


Summary of the case-

·         Mr. Crawford was charged for attempting murder on a man who tried to rape his wife.

·         Crawford's wife gave witness to the investigating officers regarding the whole incident.

·         During the trail procedure, the prosecution tried to use the statements against Crawford because his wife was not present due to her marital reasons.

·         Crawford fought that the statement was inadmissible under the Sixth Amendments Confrontation Clause.

·         The court said that a defendant has the right to challenge the witness who testifies against him with reasonable opportunity to cross-examine under the Confrontation Clause and that opportunity did not exist in this case.


Facts of the case-

Mr. Crawford was charged with attempted murder and assault of a man he claimed was attempting to rape his wife. The prosecution tried to introduce the Crawford's wife's recorded statement where she described the stabbing. The court allowed the statement recorded on the tape into evidence. Under the state marital right, Crawford's wife was unable to testify. Crawford then appealed and the appeals court in Washington ruled that the inclusion of the taped statement violated Crawford's right of conflict with the Sixth Amendment.

Procedural History-

The state then appealed the decision to the state supreme court that upheld the judgment of the trial court. Crawford brought an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which granted certiorari.

Rule of Law-

When the declarant is unavailable and the complainant has had an earlier opportunity to cross-examine the witness, past testimony of a witness not present at trial is admissible.

Issue of the case-

Whether a documented police statement made by an unavailable witness is admissible at trial?



The Court overturned and remitted the decision of the supreme court of the state of Washington.


The Court held that the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment guarantees that a defendant has the right to face witnesses who testify against him with a reasonable opportunity to cross-examine him.

Significance of the case-

Crawford v. Washington established the evidentiary rule that a defendant is entitled to cross-examine witnesses who testify against him at a trial.


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