Brief Fact Summary. Defendant was convicted of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. Defendant was a member of the New York City Police Department. Key evidence against Defendant involved an informant who would not testify at trial.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The hearsay rule cannot be circumvented by questioning a witness about one-half of his conversation regarding out of court statements offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
Issue. Was the testimony of Spinelli regarding what he told Cali inadmissible hearsay?
Held. Justice Waterman held for the United States Second Court of Appeals that much of Spinelli’s testimony regarding his conversations with Cali were inadmissible hearsay and reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial.
Because truth-telling provisions are used by the government primarily to bolster the credibility of a witness, the admission of testimony concerning such provisions before the credibility of a witness has been challenged runs afoul of the well established rules of evidence that absent an attack on the veracity of a witness, no evidence to bolster his credibility is admissible.View Full Point of Law