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Stoddard v. State

Maryland Court of Appeals
887 A.2d 564 (2005)


Facts

Erik Stoddard (defendant) was convicted of murdering three-year-old Calen DiRubbo. At the time of Calen’s death, Stoddard was caring for Calen and two other children, including Jasmine Pritchett, then 18 months old. At Stoddard’s trial, the prosecution offered the testimony of Jasmine’s mother. Jasmine’s mother testified that after Calen’s death, “[Jasmine] asked me if Erik was going to get her.” The trial court overruled Stoddard’s hearsay objection. Following his conviction, Stoddard appealed. The state argued that Jasmine’s question was a request for information and was not intended to assert anything and therefore was not a statement. The state also argued that the question was offered to prove Jasmine’s state of mind—that she feared Stoddard—and was not offered to prove that Stoddard was really going to get her. The court of special appeals held that the question was a nonassertive verbal utterance and not hearsay. Stoddard appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Raker, J.)

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