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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: G033482
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/28/2005

In Garcia’s trial for robbery and murder, he challenged the exclusion of one hearsay statement made by a woman, now deceased, to an investigator in which she claimed that another man, Rodriguez, told her that he had committed the robberies. The appellate court rejected the challenge and affirmed. Hearsay is traditionally excluded if it lacks indicia of reliability. Here, Rodriguez’s statement was made in a bar, and was reported by the woman to “America’s Most Wanted.” The statement was that Rodriguez said he had murdered somebody somewhere. The woman was unable to identify Rodriguez in a photo show-up. She was unavailable for cross-examination. Therefore, the statements lacked reliability and were properly excluded as hearsay. Further, the court did not abuse its discretion by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing although it would have been helpful. Any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The exclusion of a single inadmissible hearsay statement did not deprive Garcia of a fair trial.