Can the courts use a letter that one inmate in jail wrote to another inmate in the same jail as evidence to charge someone with?

Asked over 1 year ago - 97023

Is a letter that 1 inmate in jail wrote to another inmate in the same jail, legal to use to charge a person with solicitation of murder, and aggravated attempted murder, when they were currently in jail and no money changed hands? If the same person has mental health issues, can this person even be held accountable for this when detoxing from long term meth use and without being medicated for his mental issues??

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . It depends what the letter is offered as evidence of. In general, letters can't be offered as evidence of the statements they're claiming - this is known as hearsay. But the letter could be evidence of something else; or it could be offered even though it's hearsay, if certain conditions are met. There's not enough information here to say - the rules of evidence can be very complicated. If someone is accused of a crime, they need to consult in private with a criminal defense attorney. This board can't be an adequate substitute for that.

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more
  2. Troy Austin Pickard

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . A letter like this is certainly something that the court could consider as evidence of a crime.

    For example - if Inmate A writes a letter to inmate B which says "I want to pay you to kill Officer Jones," this letter would probably be Exhibit No. 1 in the government's case for a prosecution of Inmate A for attempted murder.

    And even though a letter may normally be hearsay, statements made by Inmate A in that letter will NOT be hearsay if those statements are offered against Inmate A at a trial. Additionally, even if the statements were made by a co-conspirator in furtherance of the conspiracy, if the statements are offered against Inmate A, they would not be hearsay.

    People can be, and often are, held accountable for their criminal behavior even if they are on drugs or detoxing. A person with un-medicated mental health issues may have a mental health-related defense, but you would need to consult with a lawyer about your case before knowing that.

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  3. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Sure.


    All the facts you present are issues for the defense attorneys to consider, each may or may not have an impact. No way to tell on the facts you provided.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia.... more

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