San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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In Taylor v. Illinois, the United States Supreme Court held that preclusion of defense witnesses for discovery violations is not absolutely prohibited by the Compulsory Process Clause of the Sixth Amendment. This Note analyzes the Court's reasoning in the context of past Supreme Court decisions on the Compulsory Process guarantees. The analysis reveals that the Court's decision has substantial shortcomings. Holding that the compulsory process does not absolutely bar the preclusion sanction implies that under some circumstances compulsory process does bar the preclusion sanction, necessitating a balancing test. The test purportedly adopted by the Court is cast in such vague terms that it cannot help resolve the harder cases. In conclusion, the Court's decision leaves the law relatively unchanged. The holding has little impact because few courts have held to the contrary. Moreover, the court's equivocation provides little guidance to the lower courts for determining under what circumstances compulsory process would bar the preclusion sanction.

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