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Confrontation – Certified Medical Records

State v. Mahlik D. Ellington, 2005 WI App 243
For Ellington: Andrea Taylor Cornwall

Issue/Holding1: The confrontation clause doesn’t prohibit a witness from reading to the jury admissible medical records:

¶13      First, as we have seen, the certified medical records were received by the trial court without objection. Certainly, the jurors could have read the pertinent excerpts, and, also, the prosecutor or defense counsel could have read to the jury excerpts from those records. Ellington does not explain why any witness could not also read pertinent excerpts to the jury. Generally, the lawyer is the best reader in the courtroom, but there is no rule or doctrine that prevents the lawyer from asking a witness to read to the jury material that is in evidence.

Issue/Holding2: Admission into evidence of medical records containing subjective, diagnostic opinions—as opposed to “clinical and nondiagnostic” “objective findings”—violates confrontation, see State v. Rundle, 166 Wis. 2d 715, 728, 480 N.W.2d 518, 524 (Ct. App. 1992). But in this instance, “the detective read to the jury only the objective findings of the medical personnel as well as what Marilyn B. told them about her injuries, namely, among other things, that they were the result of Ellington beating her.” Because Ellington hasn’t shown that any clinical findings were flawed and further because he did not dispute that he hit her, the Rundle principle wasn’t violated, ¶16.

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