Norwalk, CA asked in Domestic Violence for Colorado

Q: Will only a written statement hold up in the preliminary hearing if the alleged victim doesn't show up?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Mr.  H. Michael Steinberg
Mr. H. Michael Steinberg
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Greenwood Village, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: The alleged victim almost never testifies at a Preliminary Hearing. The district attorney almost always calls one maybe two witnesses, usually the Detective who filed the case and one of the original responding police officers. The testimony consists primarily of a review of the investigation and the statements of witnesses. The rules of evidence are greatly relaxed and hearsay testimony is permitted.

To answer your question - a written statement of the alleged victim is admissible at a "prelim"- but not at trial. The witness is required to testify at trial.

Here is an article that may help.

https://www.hmichaelsteinberg.com/preliminary-hearings-in-colorado.html

Best

Sean Maye
Sean Maye
Answered
  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Denver, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: A victim does not have to physically appear at the Preliminary Hearing stage. At this stage, the Court is merely screening for probable cause and the higher courts have systematically held that, for this reason, hearsay is admissible. That means both that the written statement is admissible and that the arresting officer and/or main detective can simply state what was noted by the AV or in the statement without any evidence issues.

This assessment is very different for trial, as you can imagine, where hearsay is not admissible AND the victim must be present. But that is something that only holds true at the much later and final stage of the criminal case process.

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