Supreme Court 8/19/10

The ole harmless error.

White v. State.  Tommy White was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and sentenced under the smaller habitual statute to 10 years to serve day for day.  He appealed claiming that hearsay was improperly allowed.  The Supreme Court agreed but said it was harmless error.  The State sought to elicit, and did so, testimony from two witnesses about a phone call from Latoya Anderson.  They were allowed, over Defense objection, to testify as to what Anderson told them, a clear example of hearsay.  The State used the tried and true “present sense impression and/or excited utterance” exception, which the Trial Court agreed with.  The Supreme Court found that there was no testimony given as to

“[a] statement describing or explaining an event or condition made while the
declarant was perceiving the event or condition or immediately thereafter.”
or
“Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition made
while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or
condition.”

and without evidence of one of the either, the testimony was hearsay.

But, it was a harmless error, as the police chief disarmed White, who had a sawed off shotgun, as well as shotgun shells in his pocket.

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