Torrance Defense Attorney Talks About the “Fresh Complaint” Exception to Hearsay

In California, as in most states, hearsay is inadmissible in criminal trials.  One exception to the hearsay rule is the “fresh complaint” exception by victims of violence.  This legal maxim is commonly used in sexual assault and domestic violence cases. Because it is now known that victims of sexual assaults in general, and children in particular, do not often immediately disclose their victimizations, admissibility of their complaints no longer depends on whether they were “freshly” made. It is well understood that sexual abuse victims, including children, are reluctant to report abuse incidents and often delay in doing so. According to one False Child Molestation Defense Lawyer in Torrance, the child victim is often not aware that the conduct is wrong and that what has occurred is not normal. Indeed, the child victim may not speak up because he or she is experiencing confusion and guilt and wants to forget the incident; in addition, he or she may well have been threatened by the accuser.  Evidence of the fact of disclosure, and the circumstances surrounding the disclosure, is therefore admissible in a criminal trial for nonhearsay purposes under applicable evidentiary principles.  Both the delay in complaining and the spontaneity of the complaint are factors to be considered in assisting the trier of fact to assess the significance of the victim’s statements. see the California case of People v Brown. The evidence must be carefully limited to the fact that a complaint was made and to the circumstances surrounding the making of the complaint; it should not encompass the contents of the statements and any description of the alleged molestation.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
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2 Responses to Torrance Defense Attorney Talks About the “Fresh Complaint” Exception to Hearsay

  1. Yosiki says:

    AN OPEN LETTER TO SECRETARY CLINTONMay 24, 2011Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonSecretary of StateUS Department of State2201 C Street NWWashington, DC 20520Dear Madam Secretary,We, the undersigned, appael to you for help as left-behind parents of 115 American children who have beenabducted and remain unlawfully retained in 25 countries. We also represent a number of U.S.servicemembers whose children were abducted while serving our country overseas. Some of these countriesare signatories to the Hague Convention while others are not, such as Japan, where we face overwhelmingodds trying to reunite with our children. We and our families are devastated ? emotionally and financially ?by the loss of our children and seek your assistance in ensuring that the U.S. Government is exercising alllawful means necessary to return these American children to their home country and reunite them with us.The continued retention of our children violates international law, ethical norms, and human decency. Putsimply, our children have been stolen from us, and it is our legal and moral right to be a part of their lives. Asour 84 cases demonstrate, there are a growing number of countries willfully ignoring or abusing theirinternational obligations with regard to international parental child abduction. Each of us has hadexasperating experiences seeking justice in foreign courts, where our cases are often treated as custodymatters, rather than as abduction cases. Often times, victim parents are told to use the court system of theforeign country when it is well known that such action will likely result in a decision with custody of ourabducted children being awarded to the abducting party.Collectively, we have limited or no contact with our children, many of whom have been turned against us asa result of parental alienation, a documented form of child abuse. Our children lost half their identities whenthey were ripped from their homes, families and friends. Like us parents, our children’s grandparents,siblings, aunts, uncles, and other family members have holes in their hearts left by the abduction of theirloved ones.We were encouraged by your July 2010 appointment of Ambassador Jacobs as Special Advisor to the Officeof Children’s Issues (OCI). However, in working with OCI, we have experienced little improvement in thequality of service provided by the Department of State and almost no positive results. The current system hasfailed us. While our children remain unlawfully in foreign lands, the number of new child abduction casesfrom the U.S. continues to grow at an alarming rate. There is an urgent need for change, not only to preventmore of our nation’s children from being abducted across international borders, but also to effectuate theexpeditious and safe return of our abducted children.International child abduction is a serious human rights violation in desperate need of your attention. In ourexperience, all too often these international child abduction cases do not appear to be addressed aggressivelybecause of the State Department’s effort to maintain harmonious, bilateral relations with other countries or topursue other compelling foreign policy goals. The Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual on the issue of childabduction highlights this point by instructing OCI case workers to remain “neutral” when handling theseabduction cases. This inherent conflict of interest cannot be ignored and we need to place a higher priority onthe welfare of our children. We understand the necessity of maintaining strong relationships with othernations, but this should not come at the expense of our children.Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonMay 24, 2011Page 2Over the years, both houses of Congress have held numerous hearings on the issue of international parentalchild abduction, yet precious little has changed as our absent children grow older. On Tuesday, another groupof parents will gather in Washington, D.C. for yet another hearing. It is our hope that this will be the year thatCongress and the Administration unite to pass new laws to strengthen our nation’s capacity to help the parentand children victims of international parental child abduction. We also hope that the State Department, underyour leadership, will embrace these changes to finally end this gross injustice affecting thousands ofAmerican children.Madam Secretary, we applaud your past efforts and record on children’s rights issues, but we are desperateand plead for your assistance. It is long past time for this great country to show leadership on the issue ofinternational parental child abduction. We cannot grow complacent with each successful return, nor can weforget about all the other children who are being wrongfully retained abroad. We are fortunate to have thestrong support of groups which advocate for victims of international parental child abduction. However, weneed our government’s unwavering support and determination to bring our children home.Madam Secretary, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you directly to discuss how progress canbe made. Please help us to be reunited with our children.Sincerely,David Brian Thomas, father of Graham Hajime Thomas (Nishizawa) (Age 20)Abducted to Japan in November, 1992Walter Benda, father of M.B and E.B (Ages 22 and 20)Abducted to Japan in July, 1995Charles A. Hamilton, father of Dakota Carmen (age 15)Abducted to Spain in December, 1996Eric Kalmus, father of Amy Ito (Kalmus), (age 14)Abducted to Japan in 1998James Filmer, father of Sarah (age 13)Abducted to Germany in October, 1998David Hendricks, father of Daniel and Patrick (ages 17 and 13)Abducted to Norway in June, 1999Mark & Lydia Harrison, father and grandmother of Jessica Danielle (age 15)Abducted to Mexico in July, 2000Craig Alciati, father of Peter Spencer (age 12)Abducted to France in March, 2001Michael C. Gulbraa, father of Michael K. & Christopher R. Gulbraa (ages 21 and 20)Abducted to Japan in November, 2001Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonMay 24, 2011Page 3CDR Paul Toland, USN and Linda Toland, father / sole surviving parent and stepmother of Erika (age Abducted to Japan in July, 2003Richard B Kephart Jr and Martha Kephart, father and grandmother of Richard Kephart III and NicolleHyler Kephart (ages 15 and 10)Abducted to Japan in November, 2003Brett Weed, father of Takoda Tei Weed & Tiana Kiku Weed (ages 13 and 10)Abducted to Japan in January, 2004Klaus Zensen, father of Maria Carolina (age 7)Abducted to Brazil in July, 2004Ariel Ayubo, father of Lorenzo (age 10)Abducted to Brazil in September, 2004Robert A. McConnell, father of Bianca Damanik (age Abducted to Indonesia in January, 2005Deana Hebert, mother of Bianca Lozano (age 17)Abducted to Mexico in April, 2005Paul Brown, father of Liam Shiratori Paul Brown (age Abducted to Japan in June, 2005William J Lake, father of Mary Victoria Lake (age 14)Abducted to Japan in August, 2005Stephen Christie, father of James Kento Christie (age 16)Abducted to Japan in October, 2005John Donaldson, father of Michiru Janice Donaldson (age 10)Abducted to Japan in November, 2005George A. Petroutsas, father of Andonios (age 6)Abducted to Greece in December, 2005, re-abducted in June, 2010Michele Swensen, mother of Amina, Layla, and Sami (ages 14, 12 and 10)Abducted to Yemen in February, 2006Didier Combe, father of Chloe (age 7)Abducted to Mexico in March, 2006Kelvin Birotte, father of Kelvin Jr. (age 5)Abducted to Brazil in July, 2006Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonMay 24, 2011Page 4Timothy Weinstein, father of Paul and Anna (ages 13 and 10)Abducted to Brazil in August, 2006Marty Pate, father of Nicole (age 10)Abducted to Brazil in August, 2006Nigel Lewis, father of Jasmyn Lewis and Cody Lewis (ages 9 and 7)Abducted to Japan in November, 2006Donna Hesse, grandmother of Kai Noel Hachiya (age 12)Abducted to Japan in December, 2006Michael McCarty, father of Liam Gabriele (age 9)Abducted to Italy in March, 2007Douglas Brian Gessleman, father of David and Joshua Gessleman (ages 7 and 9)Abducted to Japan in May, 2007Robert Carpenter, father of Natalie Elisabeth and Krystal Lynn (age 5)Abducted to Colombia in June, 2007Trevor Richardson, father of Andrew (age 5)Abducted to Mexico in August, 2007Paul Wong, father and sole surviving parent of Kaya Summer Xiao-Lian Wong (age 7)Abducted to Japan in August, 2007Kirsten M. Snipp, mother of Joichiro Yamada (age 13)Abducted to Japan in September, 2007Michael G. Canopin, father of Christian Lehua Haolalani Yuuki Inamura-Canopin (age 13)Abducted to Japan in October, 2007Jose Maria Cacho Polo, father of Jose Martedn (age 11)Abducted to Japan in January, 2008Michael Sanchez, father of Emily Machado (age 5)Abducted to Brazil in March, 2008Randy Ernst, father of Joseph and Nicole (ages 13 and 11)Abducted to Russia in May, 2008Sean A. McKnight, father of Kelly and Julia (ages 15 and 7)Abducted to Poland in May, 2008Randy Collins, father of Keisuke Christian Collins (age Abducted to Japan in June, 2008Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonMay 24, 2011Page 5Carlos Bermudez, father of Sage Antonio (age 4)Abducted to Mexico in June, 2008Bandi J. Rao, father of Anand Saisuday (age 6)Abducted to India in July, 2008Carl Hillman, father of Sean (age Abducted to Japan in July, 2008Conrad Washington, father of Conisha Kanna and Maximus Riku (ages 16 and 7)Abducted to Japan in July, 2008Patrick McCoy, father of Yuuki McCoy (Kojima) (age 3)Abducted to Japan in August, 2008Regan Haight, mother of Chloe and Aiden Kobayashi (ages 9 and 5)Abducted to Japan in September, 2008James Robert Allen, father of Joseph Martin (age 2)Abducted to Colombia in September, 2008Brandon C. Neal, father of Alexander Hikaru Neal (Sugashima) (age 4)Abducted to Japan in September, 2008Chandrashekar Mungaravalli Puttappa, father of Akshara (age 3)Abducted to India in October, 2008Michael Elias, Nancy Elias and Miguel Elias, father, grandmother and grandfather to Jade Maki Elias andMichael Angel Elias (ages 5 and 3)Abducted to Japan in December, 2008Jessie Duke, Roy Duke and Deborah Duke, father, grandfather and grandmother of Shanonyuma Ishidaand Rikki (ages 8 and 4)Abducted to Japan in December, 2008Matt Wyman, father of Jake Taylor and Alex Michael (ages 10 and 6)Abducted to Japan in January, 2009Roy Koyama, father of Emily Alina (age 2)Abducted to Costa Rica in February, 2009Devon Davenport, father of Nadia Lynn (age 2)Abducted to Brazil in February, 2009John Henry Richardson III, father of Matthew and Dylan (age 8 and 7)Abducted to Mexico in April, 2009Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonMay 24, 2011Page 6Dhanika Athukorala, father of Kali Soleil (age 3)Abducted to Dominican Republic in April, 2009Richard C. Nielsen, Peter Nielsen and Karin Heintz, father, grandfather and grandmother of Leo Nielsen(age 4)Abducted to Japan in April, 2009Darshaun Nadeau, father of Kaya Nadeau (age 2)Abducted to Japan in May, 2009Mzimaz Youssef, father of Ghali (age 2)Abducted to Morocco in May, 2009James Patrick Carol, Jr., father of Andrea Vanessa and James Patrick (ages 7 and 6)Abducted to Mexico in June, 2009Tracy Baumgart, mother of Saxon Rayne Kawar (age 10)Abducted to Jordan in July, 2009Michael M. Bergeron, father of Ami Amor (age 6)Abducted to Peru in August, 2009Douglass Berg, father of Gunnar and Kianna Berg (ages 11 and 10)Abducted to Japan in August, 2009Christopher and Amy Savoie, father and stepmother of Isaac and Rebecca (ages 10 and Abducted to Japan in August, 2009Colin Bower, father of Noor and Ramsay (ages 10 and Abducted to Egypt in August, 2009Evangelina Pena, mother of Elias Badys (age 4)Abducted to Morocco in September, 2009Brett Purcell, father of Dante (age 1)Abducted to Argentina in September, 2009Bruce R. Gherbetti, father of Rion Suzuki, Lauren Gherbetti and Julia Gherbetti (ages 8, 6 and 4)Abducted to Japan in September, 2009Mark Gomez, father of Haydn (age 3)Abducted to China in January, 2010Jeffery Morehouse, Madeline Morehouse & David Sorlie, father, grandmother and grandfather of Mochi Atomu Imoto Morehouse (age 7)Abducted to Japan in February, 2010Honorable Hillary Rodham ClintonMay 24, 2011Page 7Stan Hunkovic, father of Gabriel Julius and Anastasia Sierra-Marie (ages 3 and 1)Abducted to Trinidad & Tobago in February, 2010Sara Edwards, mother of Eli Kiraz (age 3)Abducted to Turkey in March, 2010Alex Kahney, father of Selene and Cale (ages 9 and 7)Abducted to Japan in April, 2010Brian Prager and Morton Prager, father and grandfather of Louis “Rui” (age 5)Abducted to Japan in June, 2010Antonio Quintana, father of Victoria and Virginia (ages 4 and 3)Abducted to Argentina in July, 2010Rex S. Arul, father of Rhea Immaculate (age 4)Abducted to India in July, 2010Simon Williams, father of Noan John (age 2)Abducted to Brazil in August, 2010Sheena Howard, mother of Talan and Jose9 Otavio Ribeiro da Silva (ages 5 and 2)Abducted to Brazil in September, 2010Dennis Patrick Burns, father of Victoria Emma and Sophia Marie (ages 4 and 2)Abducted to Argentina in September, 2010Richard Joseph Gatt, father of Natasha Joanie (age 6)Abducted to Brazil in October, 2010Douglas Trombino, father of Morgana Gray (age 2)Abducted to Colombia in November, 2010Ray Rose, father of Kaia (age 15 months)Abducted to Japan in November, 2010Robert W. Makielski, father of Isabel Marie and Gabriel Leonardo (ages 8 and 4)Abducted to Dominican Republic in January, 2011Tim Johnston, father of Kai Endo (age 6)Abducted to Japan in March, 2011

  2. Michael Bergeron says:



    our names are listed above in tthe congressional HEARING

    michael m Bergeron I WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON MY CHILD- PRO-BONO ATTORNEYS ? where are they!

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