Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Evidence: Present Sense Impression

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Apr 06, 2016 | 0 Comments

State v. Wright, 735 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 10 (App. Div. II, March 26, 216) (J. Miller)


An undercover police officer “J.D.” arranged to purchase methamphetamine from one defendant. There was a hidden recording device in J.D.'s truck. Fellow officers were tailing J.D. for his protection and to ultimately make an arrest. They were listening in to the recording device. When the defendant exited the truck to make the buy J.D. described what he observed as the defendant entered another parked car and made the buy from his co-defendant. Defendants were convicted. The trial court's ruling that J.D.'s description of the transaction constituted a present sense impression exception to the hearsay rule was affirmed.

Because J.D. was describing in real time the people, car and what occurred that he could see the statement should be admitted as a present sense impression Ariz. Rule Evid. 803(1).  The fact that the statements were not only being recorded but also transmitted to other nearby officers primarily for his safety, and not after the fact in anticipation of making a case against the defendants, was adequate reason to dismiss concern that the statements were unreliable.

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".


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