<< The Four Trials of Capital Cases | Main | Faking Retardation >>

"Testimonial" Hearsay


The California Supreme Court has scheduled argument for January 9 in its review of People v. Cage, 120 Cal. App. 4th 770, 15 Cal. Rptr. 3d 846 (2004). "Defendant's son had sustained a cut on his neck during a fight with his mother. He made three separate hearsay statements: to a police officer at the hospital where he was taken for treatment, to the doctor who treated him at the hospital, and to the same police officer at the police station--each to the effect that defendant had picked up a piece of glass and deliberately slashed him with it." The intermediate appellate court affirmed in a pre-Davis opinion. "The court held that the statements the victim made to the police officer and doctor at the hospital were nontestimonial, but the statement the victim made later to the police officer at the police station was testimonial. Admission of the testimonial hearsay statement ... was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt."

Expect an opinion within 90 days of argument.


There's something to be said for the solemnity of the trial and some degree of skepticism of out-of-court statements. With respect to the boy's statements to the doctor, many hearsay cases separate out allegations of identity as not being relevant to the diagnosis. That to me seems the correct result.

Is there any way of finding out which court this will be heard at? I'm a law student in San Francisco and would really enjoy watching the oral arguments in that case.

You're in luck, Mike. No travel required for you.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives