Can Statements Made on a 911 Recording Be Used In Court As Evidence ?
In People v. Moscat, 3 Misc. 3d 739, 777 N.Y.S.2d 875, 879 (N.Y. Crim. Ct. 2004), the court held that the victim's statement on a 911 recording was not testimonial in nature because her call for help was "essentially different in nature than the 'testimonial' materials that Crawford tells us the Confrontation Clause was designed to exclude."
In so finding, the court stated that the typically "hurried and panicked" conversation between an injured victim and a dispatcher is simply not equivalent to the formal pretrial examinations to which the confrontation clause was directed.
Although those who provide a formal statement, deposition, or affidavit are conscious that they are bearing witness, and that their statement may be used in a potential criminal proceeding, an individual who has just been injured "is not contemplating being a 'witness' in future legal proceedings; she is usually trying simply to save her own life." Moscat, 777 N.Y. S.2d at 879-80.
Therefore, the court concluded, because the caller is not "bearing witness," a 911 call is not testimonial in nature, and it may be received in evidence without offending the confrontation clause. Moscat, 777 N.Y.S.2d at 880.
See also People v. Caudillo, 19 Cal.Rptr. 3d 574, 122 Cal. App. 4th 1417 (Cal. Ct. App. 2004) (holding that statements contained on a 911 tape did not constitute testimonial evidence).