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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney
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In North Carolina if the state is pressing criminal charges

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In North Carolina if the state is pressing criminal charges and at trial the witness will admit to signing statement, but does not recall any events is there any case law that makes that statement inadmissible?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Hello there:

Thank you for entrusting me with your question. It is not a case law issue; it is a statutory issue. The written, signed statement by a non-party witness is hearsay if offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted, so "yes" it is ordinarily inadmissible.

I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The witness is the original complainant, but does not want to press charges or testify. The state of North Carolina is pursuing the case. The complainant has to take the stand and is going to admit to signing the statement, but does not recall the events of the incident.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
The witness may be the original complaintant, but s/he is not a party to the case. If you look at the criminal complaint, it will read something like "The people of the state of North Carolina v. John Doe". The parties are the state and the defendant. The victim is not a party. So, my previous answer stands and the witness' written statements would generally be inadmissible under the hearsay rule.
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