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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99137 Find in a Library
Title: Evidence - Hearsay - Child Abuse and Neglect - A Child's Statements Naming an Abuser Are Admissible Under the Medical Diagnosis or Treatment Exception to the Hearsay Rule - Goldade v State, 674 P 2d 721 (Wyo 1983)
Journal: University of Cincinnati Law Review  Volume:53  Issue:4  Dated:(1984)  Pages:1155-1172
Author(s): M J Maag
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An analysis of a child abuse case in Wyoming in which the court allowed hearsay evidence from medical professionals concludes that not only is such evidence often critical to prosecuting child abuse cases, but its admission is favored by current public policy.
Abstract: In Goldade v. State (1983), the child victim of abuse by the mother was declared an incompetent witness because she was too shy and overwhelmed to respond to questions in court. Consequently, the State introduced the nurse and physician who had examined the child in the emergency room. Both repeated the child's statement to them attributing the bruises to her mother. The court ruled these statements were admissible under Rule 803(4), the medical diagnosis or treatment exception to the hearsay rule. This was upheld on appeal. The Wyoming court acknowledged that the procedural value of other courts' interpretations of Rule 803(4) was outweighed by the importance of alleviating the serious problem of family abuse, contended that the physician had to know the identity of the assailant to make a decision whether to place the child in protective custody, and that a liberal approach to the rule in child abuse cases was a logical extension of Wyoming's policy in child death cases. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has not delineated a standard for determining the constitutionality of specific applications of the hearsay exceptions, courts will have to decide this issue on a case-by-case basis. The article includes 604 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Child abuse prevention; Hearsay evidence; Judicial decisions; Prosecution; Wyoming
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