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Cal Supreme Reverses Exception to Hearsay Ruling

People v. Gray Court: Supreme Court of California, Docket: S269237, Opinion Date: August 14, 2023. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal concluding that because certain statements fell within an exception to the hearsay requirement they automatically qualified for admission into evidence, holding that the court of appeals erred in concluding that it was not necessary to balance Defendant's confrontation interests against any countervailing government interests. Defendant was charged with inflicting corporate injury upon a person in a dating relationship and residential burglary. The prosecution moved to revoke Defendant's probation based on the same incident. At the criminal trial, the prosecution sought to admit the complaining witness's (N.S.) statements as recorded on a body-worn camera video, but the trial court ruled that the statements were inadmissible under the Confrontation Clause. The court subsequently dismissed the criminal proceeding. At the subsequent probation revocation the court ruled that statements within the first portion of the video qualified as spontaneous statements under Cal. R. Evid. 1240 and admitted N.S.'s statements without making an express finding of good cause for not securing N.S.'s live testimony. The court of appeal affirmed the order revoking Defendant's probation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in concluding that the statements automatically satisfied the minimum due process requirements necessary for their admission into evidence.


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