Are a Victim's Statements Just After the Crime Considered Excited Utterances ?

In People v. Norton, 164 AD2d 343, 563 N.Y.S.2d 802 (1990), the victim approached police officers for help within less than a minute of being stabbed. The officers testified that the victim was sweating, pale, speaking rapidly and looked scared. The officers testified that the victim got Into the patrol car and Immediately provided a description of his alleged assailant (the defendant), and about a minute later, the defendant's first name. (The victim and alleged assailant/defendant were sometime-associates.) They arrived at the hospital ten minutes later, where the victim identified the defendant, who had been arrested and brought to the hospital by other officers. Later, however, the victim recanted the Identification and refused to testify at the defendant's trial. The trial court admitted the victim's statements as excited utterances. In reversing, the appellate court opined that the declarant's injury, albeit requiring hospitalization and subsequent use of a crutch, was Insufficient "to have precipitated excited utterances In the legal sense." Id. at 353. the court noted that immediately alter the stabbing, the victim "had the presence of mind to go to the police and seek assistance." Id. at 355. Later on, he had "enough" time to reflect during the ten-minute trip to the hospital. "There is no rule stating that every time a complaining witness approaches a cop after an incident, that it's an ... excited utterance." Id. at 354.