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Videotaped statement of Child, § 908.08(3)

State v. Robert L. Snider, 2003 WI App 172, PFR filed 8/22/03
For Snider: Timothy J. Gaskell

Issue: Whether a child-victim’s videotaped statement must satisfy all the conditions in § 908.08, or may instead satisfy the residual exception.


¶12. We agree with the State that the plain language of Wis. Stat. § 908.08(7) permits the admission of a child’s videotaped statement under any applicable hearsay exception regardless of whether the requirements of subsections (2) and (3) have been met. Section 908.08(1) permits the admission of a “videotaped oral statement of a child who is available to testify, as provided in this section” (emphasis added). The remaining subsections of the statute provide two ways for the statement to be admitted “as provided in this section.” The first is by meeting the various requirements set forth in subsections (2) and (3). If these requirements are met, the court “shall admit the videotape statement,” § 908.08(3), and it need not consider any other grounds for admitting the statement. Alternatively, a court “may also admit into evidence a videotape oral statement of a child that is hearsay and is admissible under this chapter as an exception the hearsay rule.” Wis. Stat. § 908.08(7) (emphasis added). This language can only be read to mean that, if a child’s videotape statement is admissible under one of the hearsay exceptions set forth in Wis. Stat. § 908.03, the requirements listed in the preceding subsections of § 908.08 are inapplicable.…

¶18. In applying the Sorenson factors to the videotaped statement, the trial court noted that the victim was ten years old at the time the statement was made and that her statements did not appear to be the product of adult manipulation because she demonstrated knowledge appropriate to her age and did not want to talk about certain areas of the male or female body. The court also noted the victim thought of Snider as an uncle and was concerned about whether he would see the video. Finally, the trial court concluded there were no signs of deceit or falsity on the video, and that the videotaped statement was consistent with the statement the victim had made to the guidance counselor five hours earlier, and in many details, with the statement subsequently given to the detective by Snider himself.

¶19. We conclude the trial court applied the correct legal standard to the facts of record and articulated a reasonable basis for its decision to admit the statement under the residual hearsay exception. See Huntington, 216 Wis. 2d at 680-81. Accordingly, we conclude the trial court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in admitting the videotape.

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