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Blake v. State

    Brief Fact Summary. Defendant, David Blake, was convicted of sexually assaulting his sixteen year old stepdaughter. At issue in the trial was whether the victim’s doctor could testify to the victim’s identification of Defendant as the assailant during a medical exam.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Statements of identification in child abuse cases are often admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule under the medical statements exception.

    Facts. David Blake, Defendant, was convicted of sexual assault of his stepdaughter. The victim was sixteen years old at the time of the crime. The victim identified Defendant as the assailant while being examined at the hospital by Dr. Mary Bowers. The victim claimed Defendant sexually assaulted her multiple time over several years. The victim was not called to testify during trial. The Defense objected to allowing Dr. Bowers to testify regarding the victim’s identification of Defendant.

    Issue. Was it error for the district court to allow Dr. Bowers testimony regarding the victim’s identification of Defendant as the assailant during the sexual assault examination?

    Held. Justice Lehman issued the ruling for the Supreme Court of Wyoming in holding that the testimony met the two part Renville test, was properly admitted under the medical statement exception and the conviction was affirmed.

    Discussion. The Court implies a two part test requiring that declarant’s motive in making the statement is consistent with the purposes of promoting treatment or diagnosis, and that the statement’s contents is reasonably relied on by the physician in treatment or diagnosis.


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