Court to Consider Second-Hand Testimony Issue

Court to Consider Second-Hand Testimony Issue

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- The Utah Supreme Court is taking a look at the state's rules on hearsay testimony in court.

The case deals with a man who reportedly told a girlfriend that he had stabbed another lover to death.

Jose Cruz-Meza pleaded guilty to the crime in 2001. A judge had ruled that the girlfriend, Bonnie Santa-Cruz, would be allowed to testify that the suspect had told her about the murder. But she would NOT be able to testify that Cruz-Meza had said the victim came at him with a gun.

A defense attorney for Cruz-Meza told the Supreme Court that the woman should have testified about the whole story -- and the jury would have to decide what was believable and what wasn't.

The state, however, says the part about the gun was unreliable hearsay. The jury could hear about it from the suspect's own mouth -- but not second-hand through the girlfriend.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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