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Ohio v. Scott

Brief Fact Summary. Randy Scott, Defendant, was convicted of shooting with intent to kill, wound, or maim, after he blinded one person with a shotgun blast and fired upon ensuing police. Shortly before his arrest he told a witness what happened, and the witness contacting police and gave a written statement.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Past recollection recorded may be used to admit evidence of a testifying witness when that witness testifies that his recollection at the time of the past recorded document was complete.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Under the doctrine of present recollection refreshed, the witness looks at the memorandum to refresh his memory of the events, but then proceeds to testify upon the basis of his present independent knowledge.

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Facts. Defendant, Randy Scott, was convicted of shooting with intent to kill, wound, or maim. He shot one victim in the face with a shotgun and fired at police officers during a pursuit. Carol Tackett, a state witness, gave a handwritten statement that Defendant approached her the night of the incident and told her he wrecked a car and shot someone. The statement was admitted and the Defendant objected. The State argued the statement was properly admitted under the “past recollection recorded” exception to hearsay.

Issue. Did admission of the handwritten statement violate Defendant’s constitutional rights?

Held. Justice Leach issued the opinion for the Ohio Supreme Court in holding that the statement was properly allowed as a “past recollection recorded.”

Dissent. Justices Corrigan and Brown dissented noting that the witness did not unambiguously say she had no present memory of the events, and the prosecution made no effort to refresh her memory.

Concurrence. Chief Justice O’Neil, and Justices Schneider, Herbert and Stern concurred.

Discussion. The Court found that the statement satisfied the past recollection recorded exception in that the statement consisted of firsthand knowledge, it was the original memorandum made near the time of the event, the witness lacked a present recollection, and the witness stated the memorandum was accurate.


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