Crane v. Kentucky

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In Crane v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 683 (1986), the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a state limitation on the right of a defendant to present a complete defense, holding that "[w]hether rooted directly in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or in the Compulsory Process or Confrontation clauses of the Sixth Amendment, the Constitution guarantees criminal defendants 'a meaningful opportunity to present a complete defense.'"[1]

The Court held unconstitutional an arbitrary rule preventing the defendant from attempting to show at trial that his confession was unreliable because of the circumstances under which it was obtained. Neither the State Supreme Court nor the prosecution "advanced any rational justification for the wholesale exclusion of this body of potentially exculpatory evidence."[2]


  1. Id. at 690 (quoting California v. Trombetta, 467 U.S. 479, 485 (1984); citations omitted).
  2. 476 U.S. at 691.