. vs. Tearman demonstrates CAAF's Subtle Exception for Testimonial Hearsay

. vs. Tearman demonstrates CAAF's Subtle Exception for Testimonial Hearsay

In U.S. vs. Tearman (2011), CAAF made a subtle exception to the Blazier (2010) decision, which had held the introduction of summarized drug testing reports was in violation of the accused's 6th amendment right to confront their accuser, absent the testimony of the individual who prepared the summarized data report.

Here, CAAF made an exception in allowing a lower court to admit summarized drug testing reports without offering the accused the opportunity to confront the individual who created it; the lower court cited the inoperative precedent Magyari in permitting the testimonial hearsay. Despite finding an error in the court's admission of the evidence, CAAF refused to remand the case. The court held that the erroneous admission of the summarized data was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. CAAF reached this decision by articulating that the government's case was strong: the government presented witnesses who testified to the accused's character, the collection of the urine sample, as well as an expert who represented an independent conclusion from the drug testing data (and not an affidavit-like summarized report). For this reason, CAAF found no reversible error, and that the admission of the testimonial hearsay was unimportant in relation to everything else the jury had to considered on the issue.

Citations:

United States v. Magyari 63 M.J. 123

United States v. Tearman 70 M.J. 640

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