United States v. Napier

518 F.2d 316 (1975)

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United States v. Napier

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
518 F.2d 316 (1975)

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Facts

Jimmy Lee Napier (defendant) was tried for the kidnapping of Mary Gertude Caruso. Caruso was found unconscious with head injuries and was hospitalized for several weeks. Caruso’s brain injuries left her unable to testify in court due to her inability to comprehend the significance of an oath. Caruso’s memory was unaffected, but her ability to communicate was limited. A week after Caruso was released from the hospital, her sister showed her a photograph of Napier from a newspaper article. Caruso was immediately distressed and pointed to the photograph and said, “He killed me, he killed me.” No members of Caruso’s family had discussed the assault with Caruso prior to showing her the photograph. Napier argued that Caruso’s statement was inadmissible hearsay. The trial court admitted Caruso’s statement as an excited utterance. The jury found Napier guilty. Napier appealed, arguing that the startling event to which Caruso referred was the assault, and therefore, the statement was too far removed from the startling event.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sneed, J.)

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