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Huntley Hearing (Legal Definition: All You Need To Know)

What is Huntley Hearing?

How do you legally define it?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our criminal law and rules of evidence!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Is A Huntley Hearing 

A “Huntley Hearing”, named after the People v. Huntley case, refers to a New York pre-trial hearing where the police is required to establish how they obtained various statements from the defendant.

Further to the Huntley case, the NY courts permit defendants in criminal proceedings to challenge the legality of how the police obtained statements from the accused if those statements are to be used at trial.

In essence, if the prosecutor plans to use any statement or confessions made by the defendant, it must provide notice to the defendant of such intention.

Then, the criminal defendant has the right to request a Huntley hearing so the court can evaluate the admissibility of the statements made to the police.

It may be possible, in certain cases, that the police obtain statements from an individual in violation of the person’s 4th, 5th, or 6th Amendment rights.

For instance, if the defendant was coerced to give a statement, or there was an unlawful arrest or detention by the police, violation of a person’s Miranda rights, or even a violation to the individual’s right to to counsel, statements obtained further to such violations may be considered illegal.

Huntley Hearing Legal Definition

According to The Free Dictionary by Farlex, a Huntley Hearing is defined as follows:

In New York state, a separate proceeding in a criminal action conducted solely for the purpose of determining the admissibility of the extrajudicial statements made by the defendant.

What is notable with this definition is that this type of hearing applies in the state of New York, in the context of criminal proceedings, and it relates to the admissibility of evidence presented by the prosecutor.

Further to this criminal procedure requirement and evidence law, the court must be satisfied that the prosecutor is using statements that were lawfully obtained and voluntarily made by the defendant.

People v Huntley

The New York court’s ruling in the case People v. Huntley, 15 N.Y.2d 72 (N.Y. 1965) was issued further to the United States Supreme Court decision in Jackson v. Denno (378 US 368) relating to the same issue.

For the court to assess the admissibility of the defendant’s statements in trial, it will look at various factors such as:

  • When did the police obtain the statement from the accused?
  • Was the defendant under custody when the statements were made?
  • Did the accused waive his or her Miranda rights?
  • Was the statement voluntarily given?
  • Was the accused put under undue pressure?
  • Did the police use lawful techniques to get the statement?

Once the court evaluates the circumstances under which the criminal defendant made a confession or offered an incriminating statement, the court will then decide if the prosecutor can use that statement against the defendant in trial.

Huntley Hearings New York Takeaways 

So what is the legal definition of Huntley Hearing?

Winning a Huntley Hearing can be beneficial for the accused as it means that the prosecutor may not be able to present the defendant’s statements made to the police at the time of the arrest to the judge or jury.

Generally, such statements may be incriminating and the prosecutor considers them helpful in proving their case.

Limiting the prosecutor’s ability to use statements in trial can prevent the prosecutor from establishing, beyond reasonable doubt, that a crime was committed. 

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Huntley Hearing NY

  • A Huntley Hearing is named after the Huntley case where the New York courts established the rule relating to the admissibility of certain types of evidence in criminal courts 
  • The Huntley rule states that the prosecutor can only use statements made by a criminal defendant to the extent such statements were made to the police in a voluntary and uncoerced fashion 
  • A defendant may raise the argument that the statements made to the police were involuntary or coerced forcing the holding of a Huntley hearing 
  • The judge must find that the defendant’s statements, beyond a reasonable doubt, were voluntarily given to the police 
Beyond reasonable doubt 
Criminal trial 
Darden hearing
Dunaway Hearing 
Hung jury 
Hung Ordinance 
Mapp Hearing
Miranda rights 
Motion hearing 
Suppression hearings
Court procedure
Criminal lawyer 
Defense lawyer
Due process 
Evidence law 
Jury trial 
Pre-trial hearing 
Rule of law 
Rules of evidence 
Sealed indictments

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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