Monday, December 19, 2005

Hearsay OK to show participation in false alibi

[CASE] Division 1 addresses a Crawford argument, holding that admission of the hearsay statements in this case did not violate the defendant's confrontation rights because they were not admitted to show the truth of the matter asserted. In re Personal Restraint of Theders, --- P.3d ---, 2005 WL 3101045 (Wash. App. Nov. 21, 2005), Find Result - 2005 WL 3101045,
Washington Courts site

The facts, simplified: The defendant's buddy called his wife on his cell phone, saying that he was with the defendant and they were going to Petsmart to look for a dog bed. The wife heard defendant in the background. Later the buddy called again, saying that they were checking other stores. Then a woman was attacked in her home by a man in a ski mask. She recognized the man's voice as that of the buddy. Both men were questioned by the police, and each said that they had been together, shopping for a dog bed, away from the scene of the assault. In a later written statement the defendant said that he had driven his buddy to the house.

At trial, the court admitted testimony about the cell phone calls and the buddy's statement about shopping with the defendant. Does that present a hearsay problem? Division 1 says no. The statements weren't introduced to show that the defendant and his buddy actually were shopping for a dog bed. They were introduced to show that the defendant participated in the buddy's construction of a false alibi.

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