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Name: People v. Ayers
Case #: F044982
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/13/2005
Subsequent History: 4/13/05: revw den.
Summary

At appellant’s trial for assaulting his girlfriend, the court admitted two records maintained by an organization which assists abused women: a portion of a crisis intervention log and a client intake form. In the published portion of the opinion affirming appellant’s convictions, the appellate court held that although the forms should not have been admitted under the business records exception to the hearsay rule to prove the circumstances of the incident, the resulting error was harmless. The employees who completed the forms did not have personal knowledge of the evidence, but were merely recording hearsay statements by the victim, who did not have an official duty to report the relevant facts. Therefore, they did not qualify as business records. However, the jury did not see the forms and they were only barely discussed. Their content was cumulative to other evidence, and there was overwhelming evidence of spousal battery. Given the strength of the evidence, it was not reasonably probable that a result more favorable to appellant would have been reached if the forms had been excluded.