State v. Garcia

In State v. Garcia, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision on hearsay evidence. In the immediate aftermath of an assault, the defendant’s family rushed to the investigating police officers to tell them their side of the story — presumably to exculpate the defendant. But the officers waved them off and told them to save it for court. Then, the trial judge ruled that a video capturing that exchange between law enforcement and the family members was inadmissible hearsay. Since the defendant could not show the video to the jury, in his summation, the prosecutor told the jury that the family members would have told the police immediately if the defendant had acted only in self-defense. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the evidence was admissible because it rebutted the prosecutor’s implication throughout his cross-examination that the family members lied. It was admissible under N.J.R.E. 607 as extrinsic evidence relevant to the issue of reliability, and it was admissible under N.J.R.E. 803(a)(2) to rebut a charge of recent fabrication.

Search entire site by keyword...

Search for Summaries by Hashtag...

Past Opinion Summaries