Brief Fact Summary. The defendant, Key (the “defendant”), brought an appeal of a class A misdemeanor assault charge on the grounds that he was not afforded his Sixth Amendment constitutional right to confront witnesses.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Not all police interaction with witnesses who do not testify is considered testimonial. When a police officer confronts a victim at a crime scene, the initial statements of the victim, especially when they are offered voluntarily, are not considered hearsay, but instead they fall under the exception of “excited utterance.”
Issue. Whether the statements of a victim to a police officer are always inadmissible as testimonial hearsay?
Held. Initial police-victim interaction at the scene of an incident is not an interrogation and therefore any statements arising therefrom are not hearsay. Affirmed.
Discussion. While all defendants should be afforded the right to confront witnesses who make out-of-court, testimonial statements against them, initial confrontations between police officers and victims, especially when the victim volunteers a statement, are not considered testimonial.