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Required Findings and Balancing Test for Admitting Hearsay at Probation/Parole Revocation Hearings

Case Name: People v. Gray (2023) __ Cal.5th __
Case #: S269237
Last Updated: August 14, 2023

Did the trial court violate the due process right to confrontation applicable at probation and parole revocation hearings by admitting hearsay statements in a bodycam video under the excited utterance exception (Evid. Code, § 1240) without first making a finding of good cause and determining whether a balancing of the relevant factors under People v. Arreola (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1144 favored admission?


We granted review in this matter to determine whether hearsay that qualifies as a spontaneous statement under Evidence Code section 1240 is always admissible at a probation revocation hearing without consideration of the balance of relevant interests. The Court of Appeal in this case concluded that, because the statements at issue fell within a firmly rooted hearsay exception, they automatically satisfied the minimum due process requirements necessary for their admission into evidence. According to that court, it was not necessary to balance defendant’s confrontation interests against any countervailing interests of the government. We conclude that the Court of Appeal erred. We therefore reverse the court’s judgment and remand the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

This case was decided on 8/14/2023. Chief Justice Guerrero authored the opinion of the court, in which Justices Corrigan, Liu, Kruger, Groban, Jenkins, and Evans concurred. Justice Groban filed a concurring opinion.

Review on this issue was also granted with briefing deferred in:

  • People v. Downs (B315593) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 1/19/2023 (S277322)
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