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Officer’s inclusion of victim’s statements did not violate Confrontation Clause

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a police officer’s testimony that incorporated statements from the victim did not violate the defendant’s right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.

Joshua King appealed his felony conviction, in part, on the grounds that the trial court violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause when it admitted testimony of Officer Philip Rossman.

King was found guilty of Class C felony battery, Class A misdemeanor battery as a lesser included offense of the second count of Class C felony battery, and Class D felony strangulation.

In Joshua King v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1204-CR-351, the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and remanded to the trial court to correct the abstract of judgment for erroneously listing King’s second battery conviction as a Class C felony. The COA found the trial court did not violate King’s rights under the Confrontation Clause. Also, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted recordings of calls King made to the victim from jail. 

On Jan. 30, 2012, Rossman responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment complex. At the leasing office, he met the victim who was still visibly shaken and described the incident. He then went to the apartment to speak to King and retrieve the victim’s 11-month-old son.

At trial, the victim did not take the witness stand, but Rossman testified as to what the victim had told him. King appealed, arguing the police officer’s testimony violated the Confrontation Clause because what the victim said to Rossman was testimonial.

Citing Davis v. Washington, 547 U.S. 813, 822 (2006), the COA noted when the purpose of the interrogation is to enable police to meet an ongoing emergency, the statements are considered non-testimonial and not subject to the Confrontation Clause.

The COA found the victim’s statements to be non-testimonial and admissible because of her demeanor, the proximity in time to the infliction of her injuries, and the immediate possibly of danger to her child.

The court dismissed King’s arguments that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted statements from the apartment’s assistant manager and the nurse who treated the victim. The court held that any possible error in the admission of that evidence was harmless because the testimony of the two individuals was cumulative of Rossman’s testimony.
 
 

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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