The Court of Appeals, in a full-fledged opinion by Judge Fahey, with a concurring opinion, determined the defendant’s right to confrontation was violated in one case and not violated in another. (Ostensibly) the hearsay was not admitted for the truth of the matters asserted, but rather to explain police actions. In one case, the hearsay was deemed testimonial (and inadmissible) because it was substantive enough to have effectively replaced the declarant’s testimony. In the other case, the information was not deemed testimonial, because any connection with the information and an out-of-court declarant was speculative . The relevant law was described as follows:
…[T]he federal Confrontation Clause bars “admission of testimonial statements of a witness who did not appear at trial,” unless that witness was unavailable to testify and the defendant had a prior opportunity to cross-examine him or her (Crawford v Washington, 541 US 36, 53-54 …). “[A] statement will be treated as testimonial only if it was ‘procured with a primary purpose of creating an out-of-court substitute for trial testimony’ ” … and, “[i]f a different purpose underlies its creation, the issue of admissibility of the statement is subject to federal or state rules of evidence” … . Our precedent teaches that “two factors . . . are ‘especially important’ in resolving whether to designate a statement as testimonial—-‘first, whether the statement was prepared in a manner resembling ex parte examination and second, whether the statement accuses defendant of criminal wrongdoing’ ” … . “[T]he ‘purpose of making or generating the statement, and the declarant’s motive for doing so,’ also ‘inform [those] two interrelated touchstones’ ” … .
But this is not to say that testimonial statements are invariably intolerable at trial. The federal Confrontation Clause “does not bar the use of testimonial statements for purposes other than establishing the truth of the matter asserted” … . Moreover, subject to the exercise of a court’s discretion, otherwise inadmissible evidence that “provide[s] background information as to how and why the police pursued and confronted [a] defendant” … may be admitted to help a jury understand a case in context “if the evidence’s probative value in explaining the [pursuit] outweighs any undue prejudice to the defendant,” and if the evidence is accompanied by a ” proper limiting instruction’ “… . People v Garcia, 2015 NY Slip Op 02675, CtApp 3-31-15