A new ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sets a precedent where the Commonwealth may now use hearsay evidence during preliminary hearings for criminal cases. The new ruling will affect anybody arrested in Pennsylvania. View our infographic for a detailed look at the case, hearsay evidence, and the new ruling.
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The ruling stems from a case involving the shooting of a state trooper. David Ricker allegedly shot trooper Michael Trotta in 2012, leading to attempted murder charges for Ricker. At Ricker’s preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth played a recording of Trotta describing the alleged shooting. Ricker argued this was hearsay evidence and asked for a new preliminary hearing.
Merriam-Webster defines hearsay evidence as “evidence based not on a witness’s personal knowledge but on another’s statement not made under oath.”
When the Commonwealth presents hearsay evidence, the defense is unable to cross-examine the party who is said to have made the statement. This essentially denies the defendant’s right to confront the witness. That is the problem with hearsay evidence, and it was the basis for Ricker’s appeal for a new preliminary hearing – an appeal the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ultimately denied.
Click the link above to view the full infographic and learn more about the Ricker case, hearsay evidence, the Court’s ruling, and how the new precedent affects everybody arrested in our state.
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