Friday, February 11, 2005

Protection order victim identified -- hearsay? business records?

A court issues a protection order directing David to have no contact with his former girlfriend, Cara. A few weeks later, two police officers respond to a report of a trespass. On the way, they learn about the protection order. When they get to the apartment, the woman who answers the door says she is Cara. They look and find David hiding in the back bedroom.

OK, here's the interesting part. Cara doesn't testify at trial, but the prosecution must prove that David had contact with Cara, not someone else. Can the police testify that the woman at the door said she was Cara? The trial court said: yes, to show why the officers searched the apartment, but not to prove that she was Cara. During a recess, the police obtained pictures of Cara from jail booking records so they could testify about her identity. Can the records be admitted? The trial court said yes.

Division 3 affirmed, with an interesting discussion of the business records exception to the hearsay rule. State v. Iverson, 2005 WL 291534 (Wash. App. Feb. 7, 2005) (unpublished) Find Result - 2005 WL 291534.

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