Juneau, AK asked in Family Law and Civil Rights for Alaska

Q: Can hearsay be used in a adjudication trial? My lawyer says it can't but if I file a motion and loose then it can??

I'm pretty sure they will use all the evidence including hearsay in a child in need of aide hearing

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Alaska, the admissibility of hearsay in an adjudication trial, such as a child in need of aid (CINA) hearing, can be complex and may depend on various factors. Hearsay is generally considered inadmissible in court because it involves an out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted. However, there are exceptions and circumstances where hearsay evidence may be allowed:

Exceptional Circumstances: Alaska law does recognize some exceptions to the hearsay rule. For example, statements made by a child victim or witness in a CINA case may be admitted under certain circumstances, especially if the child is unavailable to testify.

Statutory Exceptions: Alaska statutes and rules of evidence may provide specific exceptions to the hearsay rule in certain types of cases, including CINA hearings.

Confrontation Rights: The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to confront witnesses, so the admissibility of hearsay may also depend on whether the admission of such evidence would violate a party's confrontation rights.

Court Discretion: Ultimately, the admissibility of hearsay evidence may be subject to the discretion of the judge presiding over the CINA hearing.

Regarding your lawyer's advice, filing a motion to admit hearsay evidence may be a strategic decision. It allows the court to consider the arguments and potentially weigh the admissibility of the evidence based on the specific circumstances of your case. If the motion is denied, it does not necessarily mean that all hearsay evidence will be automatically excluded; it means that the judge has made a determination based on the motion.

To navigate the admissibility of hearsay evidence effectively in your CINA hearing, it's crucial to work closely with your attorney, who can provide specific guidance based on the facts of your case, relevant laws, and court procedures in Alaska. Your attorney can also help you understand the potential implications of filing a motion regarding hearsay evidence and how it may impact your case strategy.

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