How is it that a person can be convicted of a felony based off of hear say?

Asked over 4 years ago - Everett, WA

No evidence of the orginal crime but yet they offer a plea bargain and make it seem better due to the fact that the accused has two prior felonies and could face life. how do they get to bend the laws to fit there program. Accussed was sent to court for Rob 1, they gave him a plea of Assault 3 and an exceptional sentence of five years. How does this work. All they had was one man accussing the other of robbery, when no evidence was found or items of which the so called victuim staes was taken.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Brian Charles Ashbach

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Hearsay is correctly admitted into court all the time.

    In Washington, hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

    A statement is not hearsay if it is being introduced for purpose other than proving the truth of the statement.

    Generally, hearsay is not admissible, but there are a lot of exceptions to the general rule.

    A good example is this: after somebody is murdered, Defendant tells Witness "I killed that guy."

    That statement, while hearsay if Witness testifies, is admissible because it is an admission, and may be enough to convict. However, a good defense attorney should be able to attack the statement in cross-examination.

  2. Anthony A Arzili

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Its just "He said, She said" or "they can't convict me on hearsay"?
    In criminal defense, we hear these catch phrases all the time.
    Truth is, not alot of people know what hearsay is. Most non lawyers believe hearsay is someone coming into court and saying "he did it". That's actually NOT hearsay but its direct evidence. If someone saw you do something and comes in to court and testifies to it, that is direct evidence.
    Our prisons are teeming with people convicted predominately on the testimony of an eyewitness (whether accurate or not).
    So, the key becomes how strong is that person's recollection and testimony.
    Did the witness have a good opportunity to view the identity of the suspect and the possible crime?
    Did the witness have a motive to lie about what he saw?
    Does the witness have a history of being untruthful? I would ask for a criminal rapsheet.
    Was the witness coerced or influenced by police tactics?
    All of these factors play into whether a witness's testimony can be enough to convict somoene. In California, the law says that even just one witness may be enough to convict someone of a crime as long as he is found to be believable. So your best bet is to get an attorney that is an expert at cross-examination who can tear up that witness and the prosecution's case.

    Best of Luck

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