WA Legal Roundup: Division II
Alverez-abrego was caring for his girlfriend’s children. When the children’s mother returned and noticed that one of the children had a swollen head she took the child to the hospital and the child was diagnosed with a skull fracture. The mother told the doctor that one of her children had stated that Alverez-abrego had thrown the injured child against a wall. The trial court allowed this double hearsay to come in through the doctor who was not allowed to state who allegedly threw the child but just that he sustained the injury from being thrown against a wall. Alverez-Abrego was convicted. He appeals his conviction, arguing that the court erred in allowing the hearsay within hearsay thereby violating the confrontation clause.
The appeals court held that the trial court erred in admitting the double hearsay because there was no exception for the child’s statement to the mother since the child was an uninjured declarant. The appeals court, however, held that the error was harmless because the State had established “overwhelming untainted evidence of Alvarez-Abrego’s guilt.”