Brief Fact Summary. Michael Betts and his former wife, Rita, divorced in California and Rita moved to Washington with Tracey Lynn, their five-year old daughter, and their son, James. James, 2 years old, died a week after Rita and the children began living with another man. James died of multiple injuries.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The hearsay evidence rule prohibits the use of testimony in court of a statement made by another person out of court which is offered to show the truth of the matter asserted.
We have consistently held that, in matters affecting the custody of minor children, the judgment of the trial court will not be disturbed except for manifest abuse of discretion.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Did the testimony by the foster mother violate the hearsay rule in that she testified as to various statements made by Tracey Lynn regarding Caporale and her brother’s death?
Held. Chief Justice Armstrong issued the opinion for the Washington Court of Appeals in holding that the foster mother’s testimony did not violate the hearsay evidence rule.
Concurrence. Justices Pearson and Petrie concurred in the judgment but did not issue a separate opinion.
Discussion. The statements of Tracey Lynn were not admitted to prove that Caporale killed her brother. The statements are not hearsay because they were admitted to show the state of mind of Tracey Lynn regardless of the truth of the statements.