Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Court of Appeals Update (Feb. 2, 2010)

State v. Blakeman. Insufficent evidence to support jury finding of statutory aggravator (in child sex case) that defendant took advantage of a position of trust, as the only evidence on this was that the victim trusted the defendant in the same way she might have trusted any adult parent of a friend. Because there was no special relationship of trust, this aggravator must fail.

State v. Haas. No best evidence problem in submitting transcript of prior recording, where recording was made available to all parties (who could have played it if they disputed the transcript) and no dispute as to the accuracy of the transcript was made.

State v. Hernandez. Court ruled that murder victim's prior statement to her mother, “That she wanted to leave him and that he was wanted in Chicago–for attempting to cut his baby’s mama.” was admissible under Rule 803(3) as a "state of mind" hearsay exception.

Ed Note: While this is in line with court precedent, it makes no sense. How is the victim's state of mind relevant to anything at issue. How could the victim's state of mind make it more or less likely that any particular person committed a crime?

State v. Jacobs. Felony sentencing worksheet is insufficient evidence to prove prior convictions, unless a defendant stipulates to the convictions.

State v. Riley. In 1d burglary case, trial court found two statutory factors in extraordinary mitigation (1) mental illeness; (2) defendant aided in apprehension of another felon (Gen. Stat. 15A-1340.16(e)(3) and (7)). Due to finding extraordinary mitigation, the court sentenced the defendant to probation, rather than active time. Held: Trial court erred in finding extraordinary mitigation. Can only do that on finding of facts over and above that required to support a statutory mitigator. Further, court erred in imposing more than 60 months probation without making proper findings.

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