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United States v. Lawrence
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
349 F.3d 109 (2003)
Dion Lawrence (defendant) was charged with the first-degree murder of George Hodge, Jr. Due to the injuries he sustained as a result of the shooting that eventually led to his death, Hodge could communicate only with nodding and blinking understood by the nursing staff at the hospital. Five days after the shooting, when given an array of photographs of potential suspects, Hodge identified another person as the assailant. Lawrence’s photograph was not in the array. Hodge eventually succumbed to his injuries and by the time Lawrence was charged and on trial, Hodge was not available to testify. The government (plaintiff) filed a motion in limine to exclude evidence of Hodge’s earlier identification of another assailant because it constituted hearsay. The court granted the motion and Lawrence was convicted. On appeal, Lawrence argued that the statement should have been admitted under the dying-declaration exception to hearsay.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McKee, J.)
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