Hubby wipes up the living room with Wifey on Saturday night. Wifey calls the cops, who come out, take her statement, photograph her injuries and bust Hubby. Fast forward to trial. No Wifey. She has changed her mind, does not want to prosecute, wants Hubby out of custody and has split for some distant, unknown location so she won't have to testify. The problem of the recanting spouse in domestic violence cases is well documented and well known to every prosecutor who has ever had to prosecute these types of cases. I would estimate that the victim recants well over half the time in domestic violence cases, probably closer to 80% of the time, truth be known. It used to be that the prosecution could still go ahead with trial in the absence of the battered spouse. They were allowed to put the cop on who took the victim's statement and have him testify to what she told him at the time of the incident. Isn't that hearsay?, I hear you cry. Yup - it sure is. But the prosecution was allowed to do it nonetheless. The legal justification for this practice was either (1) the trial judge found some exception to the hearsay rule or (2) if no exception could be found, it could still come in if the statement of the battered spouse had "some indicia of reliability." Then, in 2004, the U.S. Supremes handed down the decision in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, which held that the practice of allowing hearsay statements from unavailable declarants on the basis of their having "some indicia of reliability," was violative of the 6th Amendment's guarantee of the right to confrontation. While not a domestic violence case in and of itself, Crawford nonethelss had a huge impact on domestic violence cases, which typically involve victims who intentionally absent themselves from trial so they don't have to testify against their husbands. The essence of Crawford is as follows: In domestic violence cases, the declarant is almost always unavailable. However, the defendant NEVER has had a prior opportunity to cross-examine him or her. Result? Case dismissed. In light of this propensity of domestic violence victims to change their minds, is the Crawford decision REALLY a step forward - or a step backwards? Thoughts?