February 25, 2009, 10:41JC
Hearsay & Prescription Bottle Label
Have case where crack was found inside defendant's prescription bottle. The label is hearsay, but I am not offering it to prove the defendant is taking or was prescribed the medication on the label. I am offering it to link the precription bottle to the defendant. Any help or suggestions?
February 25, 2009, 11:45suzannewest
How about that the name on the bottle is not a "statement"? If his identification was a picture of the defendant, it wouldn't be hearsay, so just his name is not a statement, such as "this bottle belongs to X" or "X takes drugs". It's just a name, not a statement and in order to be hearsay, it needs to be a statement.
From an old law school book on evidence: US v. Bowling 32 f3d 326 (8th Cir. Arkansas 1994) "name of manufacturer stamped on pistol not hearsay because not statement of fact offered for truth of matter asserted.
Of course, your problem is that you are using it for the truth of matter asserted--that the name applies to your defendant.
February 25, 2009, 14:44WHM
The bottle should be viewed as non-hearsay, because the "statement" is not being offered for the truth of the matter asserted, either. At best, the name on the prescription bottle could be viewed as a statement that "the prescription medication contained in this bottle was prescribed to X." But you are not offering it to show that. You are offering it to show that cocaine was found in a bottle with the defendant's name on it. This is no different thatn using a phone bill with the defendant's name on it to prove an affirmative link to a house where drugs are found.