Hearsay – How to handle the police report in the court?

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Latest post 11-12-2009 8:53 AM by JoBraver. 9 replies.
  • 11-09-2009 7:30 PM

    • coody
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    Hearsay – How to handle the police report in the court?

    A police report as well as doctor’s report is hearsay, right? Does it mean the police report and doctor's report cannot be presented to a judge or the auto insurance lawyer can object it if doing so?

  • 11-09-2009 7:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Hearsay – How to handle the police report in the court?

    If the police officer who wrote the report shows up in the court to testify, then it's not hearsay.
  • 11-09-2009 7:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Hearsay – How to handle the police report in the court?

    I think we've already covered that.

    The police report is likely to be inadmissable as "evidence" but can be used to impeach a witness or remind a witness of what was said at the scene.

    Like "Mr driver, didn't you tell the police officer you ran the red light?" "No?" "Then how do you explain that the officer wrote in his report that you said that?"

    Or "Officer, what did the driver tell you during your investigation of the accident?" "He said he ran the red lite."

    You get the idea.

    But you'll have to have the police officer and witnesses personally testify in court in order for the police report to do any good.

    The doctor's report is a contemporaneous factual report of diagnosis and treatment and is likely to be admissable as evidence.

    As for the auto insurance lawyer objecting, he can object to anything and state his grounds for objecting. Then you get to say why his objection should be overruled and the judge makes a decision.

     

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  • 11-09-2009 8:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Hearsay – How to handle the police report in the court?

    You would need the police officer to testify and could not use the police report to impeach another witness as suggested by another poster;  you could only use the actual report to impeach the officer.

    Generally,  doctor's reports are also hearsay whether they contain diagnosis and treatment or not; even if admissable under some exception, you would also need someone who keeps the records to testify as to their authenticity, etc.

    Some small claims courts have relaxed rules of evidence; you would need to consult local counsel as to the rules in your specific court. 

  • 11-09-2009 8:50 PM In reply to

    Agree [=|=] You need the cop to testify

    JoBraver is exactly right. The police report is hearsay and generally not admissible as evidence in court. Rather, the police officer must testify. While it is hearsay, meaning it can't be used to prove the truth of statements in the report, it can be used to impeach the testimony of the cop who wrote it if his/her testimony on the stand does not match what he or she wrote in the report. It cannot be used to impeach any other witness, as AdjusterJack suggested, nor can it be used to refresh the memory of any other witness, because they didn't prepare the report.

    Doctor's reports, too, are generally hearsay and thus not admissible. However, in the case of doctor's reports, they may qualify for an exception to the hearsay rule (e.g. business records exception) if the requirements of the exception are met. In order to establish that the requirements are met, typically the custodian of the records or someone else familiar with how those records are produced and maintained would have to testify. How the report will be used is extremely important. If it is essentially an expert opinion on the injuries suffered in a tort case, for example, then the doctor who prepared the report generally must testify so that the other side can challenge him/her on the conclusions reached.

     

  • 11-10-2009 10:37 AM In reply to

    • coody
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    Is the police report useless at all?

    So, the police report is useless and the plaintiff even does not need to mention it in the court and the judge does not need to know there was ever a police report issued and the driver was cited after the car accident. Is it correct?

  • 11-10-2009 11:15 AM In reply to

    Re: Is the police report useless at all?

    You can, and should,  ask the plaintiff questions;  were the police called;  did you receive a ticket as a result of the accident;  wasn't the ticket for----?  &n... If plaintiff denies,  you can't use police report for anything.

  • 11-10-2009 10:43 PM In reply to

    • coody
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    Re: Is the police report useless at all?

    The plaintiff will not deny it. It is easy to answer your question. Were the police called? Yes. Did you (plaintiff) receive a ticket as a result of the accident? No, but the defendant did. Was the ticket for the violation of ----?  Yes, but it was against the defendant. Do you think the police report is still useless unless the officer is testified?

  • 11-11-2009 8:31 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Is the police report useless at all?

    If the outcome is important to you then you are better off to use skilled counsel as he or she should be much more familiar with rules of evidence as well as how to get points into play and/or discredit others and waht points need to be made.

    If you are trying to cut cost corners you might consider paying counsel for say 1-2 hrs of review and preparation and coaching-----but remember I could get 100 hrs of preparation and still fall flat on my face on some other issues or lack the Moxie to make right  points at right time.



  • 11-12-2009 8:53 AM In reply to

    Re: Is the police report useless at all?

    Having no idea who is suing whom- or where you fit into this ( and it not being important)- both sides have the right, and should question the other side.  The police report cannot be used unless the police officer testifies. You really do need to consult with local counsel.

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