Judge rules hearsay inadmissiblePublished 10:19pm Monday, June 24, 2013
A run-of-the-mill probation hearing came to a halt Monday when one attorney questioned whether hearsay should be allowed to determine the revocation of his client’s probation.
Dondrikus Daquan Drayton, 22, began 36 months of probation in March 2013, a sentence stemming from convictions that include felony larceny and breaking and entering. According to Michael Wood, Drayton’s probation officer, Drayton missed curfew on April 27 and May 11, and changed addresses on May 18.
At a Superior Court hearing, Wood was called to the witness stand to testify about the three events: that Drayton had called to let him know family obligations kept him out later than curfew by a few hours on the first two dates and also called to let Wood know he had moved on May 18.
But it was Wood’s description of what a Washington Police officer found at Drayton’s new address on May 19 that called the testimony into question. According to Wood, the police officer told the probation officer he found a gun during a search of Drayton’s new home.
“You weren’t there?” asked John Bramble, Drayton’s attorney, on cross-examine. “You didn’t see where the gun was found?”
Wood answered he was told by a police officer named Andy that the gun was found in a shoe, in a closet. He also said Drayton said the gun wasn’t his.
Hearsay is admissible in probationary hearings, however Bramble argued that his client has a right to question and cross-examine the witness — in this case, the absent police officer.
Wood recommended that Drayton’s probation be revoked; Bramble asked the opposite, and the decision was postponed until Superior Court Judge Russell Duke Jr. ordered the hearsay portions of Wood’s testimony be struck from the record, and continued Drayton’s hearing to July 29.