RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE A Practice Manual – Other Hearsay Exceptions

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A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
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Other Hearsay Exceptions

Roy v. U.S., 871 A.2d 498 (D.C. 2005). A racist statement made by co-defendant was admitted as a present sense impression. The court determined it was not testimonial because it was “not for the purpose of accusation or prosecution.”

Woods v. State, 152 S.W.3d 105 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004). Remarks by two witnesses that were declarations against penal interest were admitted because they were “casual” and “spontaneous.”

In re T.T., 892 N.E.2d 1163, 1177 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2008). Statements for the purpose of medical diagnosis are inadmissible if testimonial. [JOHN- Prior In re T.T. case was vacated and remanded. In the subsequent opinion, the identical quote from before, below, was used again.]

“To the extent [the witness’] statements responded to [the doctor’s] questions regarding the nature of the alleged attack, the physical exam, and complaints of pain or injury, such statements remain governed by the medical treatment hearsay exception statute. However, [the witness’s] accusatory statements identifying respondent as the perpetrator do implicate the core concerns protected by the confrontation clause.”
State v. Bergevine, 942 A.2d 974 (R.I. 2008). Where an individual describes events to a 911 operator while they are occurring, the statements can qualify as a present sense impression and are admissible if non-testimonial.

State v. Feliciano, 901 A.2d 631 (R.I. 2006). Under Rule 804(c), the hearsay exception for a declaration of a decedent made in good faith, the state was able to admit a friend’s testimony of statements the decedent made to him days before being murdered. The non-testimonial hearsay corroborated the state’s theory about defendant’s involvement in the murder conspiracy.

An out-of-court statement must pass a three-part test to be admitted under Rule 804(c):
The statement must satisfy 804(c); that is, it must be “made in good faith before the commencement of the action and upon the personal knowledge of the declarant.”
Under an objective standard, the circumstances must not display the earmarks of a testimonial statement, per Crawford
The statement must pass the residual “indicia of reliability” requirement of Roberts. Id. at 641.
R.I.S.C. noted that Rhode Island is the only state that recognizes this hearsay exception in criminal trials. Nonetheless, R.I.S.C. declined to hold that Crawford unreservedly prohibits this exception in criminal cases.

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