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People v. Taylor
New York Court of Appeals
598 N.E.2d 693 (1992)
Two weeks after a woman was raped in her apartment at gunpoint, the woman’s neighbor saw a man knocking on her door and using the fake name the woman had given to her rapist. The neighbor and her mother watched the man exit the building and wrote down most of what was on the man’s license plate. The neighbor then called a detective. The detective wrote down the reported license-plate information and added one digit to match the information to a suspect’s car. This suspect, George Taylor (defendant), was then arrested for that rape and a related rape. By the time the trial happened one year later, the neighbor had lost the note with the license-plate information. Neither the neighbor nor her mother could independently recall the license-plate information they saw that day. The detective still had his note recording the information the neighbor had conveyed to him over the phone. The detective could confirm that the note was written in his handwriting and that he normally tried to record all witness information accurately. However, the detective could not specifically recall writing down the plate information or whether he had confirmed the note’s accuracy, such as by reading it back to the neighbor for confirmation. The trial court admitted evidence of the detective’s handwritten note under the hearsay exception for recorded recollections. Taylor was convicted and appealed. On appeal, Taylor argued that the detective’s note was inadmissible hearsay. The intermediate appellate court affirmed the convictions, and Taylor appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hancock Jr., J.)
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