Can Hearsay Content of a Police Radio Dispatch Be Used In Court ?

In People v. Jura, also relied upon by defendant, the hearsay statements elicited by the State included testimony by three police officers that they responded to a radio dispatch of " 'a person with a gun,' described as 'a male White with a tattoo with a teardrop on his face,' and that defendant 'matched that description.' " People v. Jura, 352 Ill. App. 3d 1080, 1085-86, 817 N.E.2d 968, 288 Ill. Dec. 318 (2004). Is hearsay content of a police radio dispatch admissible as evidence ? The Court found that the hearsay content of this radio call was inadmissible at the defendant's trial and that it did not meet the exception to the hearsay rule for investigatory procedure. Jura, 352 Ill. App. 3d at 1088. The Court found that the substance of the hearsay statements had the effect of proving the matter asserted. Jura, 352 Ill. App. 3d at 1088. In rendering our judgment, we emphasized that the State repeated the statements during the examination of the officers and relied upon the statements in both opening and closing arguments to prove that defendant matched the description of the person with the gun, which was the essence of the dispute, whether the defendant was the man who possessed the gun. Jura, 352 Ill. App. 3d at 1088. In concluding that the hearsay was inadmissible and was used as substantive evidence to prove defendant guilty, this court specifically noted: "We emphasize that we could accept the State's argument that it used the hearsay merely to explain the investigation undertaken by the police had the State not elicited the hearsay repeatedly through the testimony of not one, but three witnesses; relied upon the hearsay in opening statement; relied upon the hearsay in closing argument; and repeated the 'fact' the hearsay description matched the defendant although the trial judge had sustained objection to this question and that 'fact' was not in evidence." Jura, 352 Ill. App. 3d at 1088-89.