Moore v. City of Leeds

The defendant was convicted of third-degree domestic violence, harassment, and harassing communications based on evidence that he attacked his ex-wife, Karen Kelly, while they were driving in a car. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court improperly admitted testimony from the treating physician concerning what Ms. Kelly told him as he was treating her broken nose. Specifically, the physician testified that Ms. Kelly told him that her injuries were caused by an “altercation with her husband while they were driving.” The defendant argued that the medical-diagnosis hearsay exception in Alabama Rule of Evidence 804(3) or Federal Rule of Evidence 804(3) did not apply because the statement did not concern the cause of Ms. Kelly’s injuries, but rather was a statement of fault. In concluding that the physician’s testimony was admissible under Rule 804(3), the court cited two prior decisions. First, the court considered Ex parte C.L.Y., 928 So.2d 1069 (Ala. 2005), in which the Alabama Supreme Court held that statements by a child abuse victim that the abuser is a member or friend of the victim’s immediate household are reasonably pertinent to the treatment and admissible under Rule 804(3). Second, the court considered United States v. Joe, 8 F.3d 1488 (10th Cir. 1993), in which the Tenth Circuit held that that “the identity of the abuser is reasonably pertinent to treatment in virtually every domestic sexual assault case, even those not involving children.” The Tenth Circuit found that a treating physician generally must know who the abuser was in order to render proper treatment because the physician’s treatment will necessarily differ when the abuser is a member of the victim’s household. Based on these cases, the court held that Ms. Kelly’s statements to the treating physician “concerning the cause of her injuries and the identity of the person who committed the injuries were admissible under Rule 803(4).”



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