Friday, April 27, 2007

And It's All On Tape, Part Deux

State v. Spates, no. 05-0926 (Iowa Ct. App. April 25, 2007)

Racardious Spates and his crew (L-Block) returned for a rematch of an earlier fight with another crew (the Hood). Spates and his crew were armed with weapons including an SKS rifle which Spates was carrying. A gunfight ensued and a fifteen year old girl inside the house was shot and killed by a bullet from an SKS rifle.

Spates and others were charged with first degree murder under a felony murder theory.

Proving that there is little solidarity among gangbangers when the fat's in the fire, members of the L-Block crew pled guilty and testified against Spates and his brother.

The state filed notice of its intent to use hearsay evidence in the form of a videotaped interview with a witness who subsequently recanted, and the videotape was admitted under the residual exception to the hearsay rule after a hearing on the matter. The witness interview tended to negate Spates' alibi defense.

Spates argued that the evidence was the only corroboration of the state's accomplice witnesses and attacked it on the basis of trustworthiness, necessity and the interest of justice.

The court of appeals found that the videotaped interview was trustworthy, that admission of it was necessary, and the evidence served the interests of justice. A series of other points on appeal were summarily dispensed with.

Now. Anyone think videotape equipment is too expensive or not worth the trouble?


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