Law School Case Brief
Tome v. United States - 513 U.S. 150, 115 S. Ct. 696 (1995)
The weighty, non-hearsay status is not applicable to all prior consistent statements. To the contrary, admissibility under the Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(1)(B) is confined to those statements offered to rebut a charge of recent fabrication or improper influence or motive.
Petitioner was charged with sexual child abuse of his daughter (A.T.) under 18 U.S.C.S. § 1153, et. seq. At trial, A.T. was six and a half years old and testified by short answers to leading questions. During cross-examination, the defense suggested that A.T. had fabricated the allegations against Tome because she wanted to go live with her mother. To rebut the charge of fabrication, the prosecution called six witnesses (a babysitter, A.T.'s mother, a social worker, and three pediatricians) that all testified to statements about the abuse that A.T. had made to them. During trial, the court admitted certain witness statements, notwithstanding the fact that they were introduced after charges of recent fabrication had been made. Petitioner appealed the admission of these statements and the appellate court affirmed. Petitioner appealed on writ of certiorari.
Are out-of-court consistent statements made after an alleged fabrication, improper influence, or motive arose, admissible under Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(1)(B)?
The Court reversed and remanded the appellate court order because it found that Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(1)(B) only permitted the introduction of consistent, out-of-court statements to rebut a recent fabrication, improper influence, or motive charge, when those statements were made prior to the time the charges of recent fabrication, improper influence, or motive arose. Order admitting witness statements notwithstanding alleged motive to fabricate was reversed and remanded because court found that the rule only permitted introduction of consistent, out-of-court statements to rebut recent fabrication, improper influence, or motive charges, when those statements were made prior to charge of recent fabrication, improper influence, or motive.
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