Sunday, May 17, 2009
Criminal Justice Update: Hearsay evidence in child sex abuse cases.
The Ohio Supreme Court handed down a decision which held that someone other than a child-victim may testify about the statements that the child made concerning an alleged molestation of the child. See http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2009/2009-Ohio-1576.pdf. The Court held that if the child-victim was not able to testify at trial for some reason, the “hearsay” statements of the child-victim can be admitted by having another person tell the jury what the child-victim had said on an earlier occasion. In this unique case, the child-victim died in a fire prior to the trial, and the defense had argued that the statements made by the child to others were “hearsay” and could not be admitted at trial. Thought: Some prosecutors may try to stretch this ruling to permit hearsay statements to be admitted at trail when they (the prosecution) deem the child to be “unavailable” even though the child is alive and healthy.