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Officer’s testimony about victim’s statement admissible, COA rules

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A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed an Indianapolis police officer to testify as to a victim’s out-of-court statements made to the officer shortly after an incident where she was beaten up.

Several passers-by saw Gabriel McQuay and R.S. yelling next to their car which was parked by a curb. McQuay pushed and punched R.S., according to the court record, and she screamed he was trying to kill her. McQuay ran off before Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Travis Williams arrived. He noted that R.S. was visibly upset. She identified herself and told Williams that McQuay attacked her.

McQuay was found guilty of Class D felony criminal confinement and Class A misdemeanor battery.

In Gabriel McQuay v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1311-CR-954, McQuay argued the trial court should not have admitted into evidence Williams’ testimony regarding R.S.’s out-of-court identification of herself and McQuay to the officer.
 
The state’s evidence demonstrates that R.S.’s statements identifying herself and McQuay to Officer Williams at the scene were excited utterances and, therefore, admissible statements, Judge Edward Najam wrote.  And R.S.’s identification of herself and McQuay relates to McQuay’s attack on her. The Court of Appeals could not say that the trial court abused its discretion when it concluded that R.S.’s statements to Officer Williams were excited utterances and therefore admissible pursuant to Indiana Evidence Rule 803(2).

Williams’ testimony also did not deny McQuay his Sixth Amendment right to confront R.S.

“Under an objective analysis, the circumstances of the encounter as well as the statements and actions of R.S. and Officer Williams indicate that the primary purpose of the interrogation was to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency. As such, R.S.’s identification of herself and McQuay were not testimonial statements. The Confrontation Clause did not bar their admission at McQuay’s trial,” Najam wrote.
 

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