Saturday, October 11, 2008

Update on Hearsay Bill

On August 22, 2008, we posted a blog in which we discussed a proposed Hearsay Bill which would allow the out of court statements from a witness who was intentionally murdered by the defendant if it was determined that the murder was committed so as to prevent the witness from testifying against the Defendant. In that posting we discussed how the Illinois Legislature had made a mistake in the wording of the bill which meant that the bill would not take effect until June 1, 2009. On Tuesday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich used his amendatory veto power to give the act an immediate effective date. In order for the bill to take effect, the Legislature needs to accept his amendatory veto. The Legislature will meet next month and is expected to immediately take up the matter.

This new law will allow a trial judge to determine at a pretrial hearing whether the hearsay testimony will be admitted. Under this new legislation, if the judge determines that the defendant murdered the witness and the murder was intended to make the witness unavailable to testify, if the unavailable witness statements are reliable, and if justice is best served by admitting the statements into evidence, the statements come in even through the witness is unavailable to testify and the defendant cannot cross examine the witness.

Over a dozen other states have a similar law. In addition, Federal Courts have allowed these statements into evidence for years.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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