Many people are aware of the general rule that hearsay is inadmissible. Washington criminal defense attorneys know that a court may admit hearsay evidence if it meets one of a number of exceptions to that general rule. A Washington appeals court recently reviewed a case involving the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule.
The defendant’s girlfriend had been drinking during the evening of the incident. She left the home for a while after an argument, but she subsequently returned. About 45 minutes later, she called her 16-year-old daughter. According to the daughter, the woman was crying and hysterical and spoke at a high volume. The daughter testified she had trouble understanding her mother. The woman described an assault and told her daughter she had been shot.
The girl gave the phone to her father. The woman’s ex-husband testified that she was hysterical, crying, and very scared. She described an assault and told him the defendant had shot her. The ex-husband called the police.