Res Gestae Exception to the Hearsay Rule In Georgia

In Georgia, the res gestae exception to the hearsay rule is frequently used to admit recordings of 911 calls that are made during the commission of a crime. See, e.g., id.; Sweney v. State, 265 Ga. App. 21, 22 (1) (593 SE2d 12) (2003); Kuykendoll v. State, 278 Ga. App. 369, 371 (3) (629 SE2d 32) (2006). Whether the res gestae exception should apply depends on factors including: (i) the timing of the statement (see, e.g., Wilbourne v. State, 214 Ga. App. 371, 373 (1) (448 SE2d 37) (1994) (victim's statement made over three hours after incident was inadmissible as res gestae because it "was created hours after the occurrence and bore no mark of 'spontaneity' or other such state of mind undeniably free of conscious device or afterthought")); (ii) whether the declarant was able to deliberate about the statement (see, e.g., Walthour v. State, 269 Ga. 396, 397 (2) (497 SE2d 799) (1998) (statement admissible as res gestae where event precipitating the statement is "sufficiently startling to render inoperative the declarant's normal reflective thought processes" during time interval between the precipitating event and the declaration)); (iii) whether the declarant was influenced by others prior to making the statement (see, e.g., Cartwright v. State, 242 Ga. App. 825, 828 (1) (b) (531 SE2d 399) (2000) (narrative statement delivered by victim after she spoke with her parents and a police officer was not admissible as part of res gestae)). Additionally, there must be some evidence to show that the declarant had personal knowledge regarding the facts delivered in the statement and was not "merely relaying information he had obtained from another person." Orr v. State, 281 Ga. 112, 113 (2) (636 SE2d 505) (2006).