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TPR – Harmless Error

Rock Co. DHS v. Calvin M. M., No. 2010AP816, District IV, 6/24/10

court of appeals decision (1-judge; not for publication); for Calvin M.M.: Brian C. Findley

Admission of hearsay, describing an act of domestic violence was harmless:

¶7        There are two reasons why we conclude admitting this apparent hearsay evidence was harmless error. We first observe that one of the elements the County had to prove at trial was that Calvin had not met all of the conditions for return. Calvin conceded that he had not met these conditions. Refraining from domestic violence was one of the conditions for return.  His concession would appear to obviate the need for the County to prove that Calvin committed acts of domestic violence. Although Calvin does not tie his argument that the officers’ hearsay testimony was improperly admitted to any of the elements that the County was required to prove, he does argue that the County admitted this evidence to prove that he engaged in domestic violence. Since Calvin conceded that he failed to satisfy the conditions for return, it was no longer necessary for the County to prove that Calvin committed acts of domestic violence.

¶8        There is another reason why admitting the alleged hearsay testimony was harmless. The record contains more than sufficient evidence to prove that Calvin committed domestic violence on at least two occasions. …

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