EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Monday, July 18, 2022

Court of Appeals of Georgia Finds Statements to Responding Officer Did Not Qualify as a Present Sense Impression

Like its federal counterpart, OCGA § 24-8-803(1) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for

A statement describing or explaining an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition or immediately thereafter.

So, how much time can pass between an event/condition and a statement such that the statement is no longer a "present sense impression" under the exception? Let's take a look at the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of Georgia in Grimes v. State, 2022 WL 2313683 (Ga. App. 2022).

In Grimes, at a probation revocation hearing for Sammy Grimes,

the State tendered a recording of the 911 call made by one of the named victims who stated that her “boyfriend,” who she did not identify, was at her home and was threatening to kill everyone in the house. The victim mentioned that there were several children in the home, and that the perpetrator was high or drunk and acting “crazy.”

The police officer who responded to the call testified at the hearing. She stated that in January 2021, she was dispatched to Mitchell's home following a 911 call and arrived approximately eight minutes later. Over Grimes's objections, the officer further testified that when she arrived at the victim's home, the victim told her that Grimes “beat on the garage,” entered her home, brandished a steak knife, and threatened to kill her and her brother (who was the second named victim with whom Grimes was to have no violent contact). Grimes was not at the house when the officer arrived.

In finding that the testimony by the responding officer failed to satisfy the present sense impression exception, the court held that

Here, although the victim's statement to the 911 operator was made while the victim “was perceiving the event or condition or immediately thereafter,” her later statement given to the responding officer was not sufficiently contemporaneous with the event to come within the present sense impression exception to the hearsay rule.



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