Alonzo v. State (2001)

In Alonzo v. State, 67 S.W.3d 346 (Tex.App.--Waco 2001, pet. dism'd) the Court concluded that the right to present a defensive theory is constitutional and rules of evidence, particularly hearsay rules, "must be flexible and must sometimes bend to the due-process rights of the defendant." Alonzo, 67 S.W.3d at 359. Further, the court identified five factors that a court should consider when determining whether otherwise inadmissible hearsay should be admitted because of these due process concerns: (1) the inherent trustworthiness of the hearsay; (2) any corroborating evidence that the hearsay is truthful; (3) the hearsay's importance to the determination of guilt-innocence; (4) the State's opportunity to examine the declarant of the hearsay; (5) the State's demonstration, if any, of the unreliability of the hearsay. Id. at 359-60. In Alonzo, the trial court excluded a videotaped statement of a person who claimed to have been an eyewitness to the killing and said that someone other than the defendant had committed the crime. The court of appeals concluded that the trial court erred by excluding the evidence because it violated the defendant's right to present his "alternative perpetrator" defense. Id. at 361-62.