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COA finds hearsay and right to presence claims forfeited and harmless

State v. Delano Maurice Wade, 2017AP1021, 6/26/18, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Wade appeals his jury-trial conviction of sexual assault and false imprisonment. He argues that certain of his accuser’s statements, related by police officers on the stand, were hearsay, and that the court erred in addressing a jury question when he was absent.

The court of appeals rejects all Wade’s claims on the ground they were forfeited in various ways, and also harmless. There’s not a lot to be learned from this opinion. With respect to the various statements that were arguably hearsay, the court recites the ways Wade’s attorney either failed to object, failed to object on hearsay grounds, or lodged objections that caused the prosecutor to abandon the problematic line of questioning. (¶¶13-31). It also doubles back later in the opinion to declare any hearsay problem harmless, as the disputed testimony was duplicated by other evidence. (¶¶41-50).

The court takes a similar tack with Wade’s claim that the court should not have responded to the jury’s request for some exhibits when his lawyer was present but he was not. The court says the claim is forfeited because it was raised for the first time on appeal, and anyway, by failing to respond to the state’s argument that any error was harmless, Wade has conceded that it was. (¶¶32-40).

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