Davis v. State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Case No. CV96-312322
March 27, 2000
hearsay, Ohio R. Evid. 804(b)(3), Phyllis Moretti, Ohio R. Evid. 806, Endure and Conquer, admissions by a party opponent, admissions, defendant's filings
Memorandum submitted in support of the admissibility of out-of-court statements, or hearsay, made by Dr. Samuel Sheppard. The State wanted to use writings by Dr. Sheppard as admissions by a party opponent, admissible under rule 804(B)(3) of the Ohio Rules of Evidence to attack the credibility of the declarant (Dr. Sheppard) and hearsay testimony by Phyllis Moretti that Dr. Sheppard signed the book pursuant to rule 806. Sheppard autographed a copy of his book Endure and Conquer for Phyllis Moretti; in addition to his autograph on the cover page, Sheppard wrote "YES" under the heading "DID SAM DO IT?" It is this written statement that the State seeks to use as evidence to attack Dr. Sheppard’s credibility. Rule 804(B)(3) provides that "a statement that was at the time of its making contrary to the declarant’s (Dr. Sheppard's)... interest, or so far tended to subject the declarant to civil or criminal liability... is not admissible... unless corroborating circumstances clearly indicate the trustworthiness of the statement." Presumably, Moretti’s testimony was to corroborate Dr. Sheppard’s signature in the book. They argued that the signature along with the “YES” work against Dr. Sheppard’s interest because he had lawsuits pending, which would have been damaged by an admission that he murdered his wife, and also would have exposed Dr. Sheppard to potential perjury charges since he testified that he did not--thus satisfying the exception for admissible hearsay evidence under rule 804(B)(3). Rule 806 provides that once hearsay testimony has been admitted into evidence, the credibility of the declarant may be attacked and the declarant impeached with that evidence.
Cassidy, Marilyn B.; Mason, William D.; and Dever, A. Steven, "State's Memorandum in Support of Admission of Samuel H. Sheppard's Writings in Moretti Book" (2000). 1995-2002 Court Filings. 165.