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Name: People v. Nelson
Case #: D059930
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/30/2012

Incident notes made by hospital staff about appellant’s agressive behavior were properly admitted in MDO proceeding. Nelson appealed an order recommitting her to the DMH as an MDO, contending that the trial court erred by admitting the details of hearsay evidence in medical reports on which expert witnesses relied in forming their opinions. The hearsay consisted of “Interdisciplinary Notes” made by hospital staff members which recorded incidents of Nelson’s aggression against others. Although she conceded that the experts properly relied on the Interdisciplinary Notes in forming their opinions, Nelson argued that because they contained hearsay and multiple hearsay, the trial court erred by allowing the experts to discuss them in detail and providing the jury with them during deliberations. The appellate court disagreed. The court properly admitted the notes under the public records exception to the hearsay rule. In any case, any error in admitting the notes was harmless because there was other competent evidence of Nelson’s violence. Further, there was no confrontation issue because the incident notes were not testimonal.