Longshore v. Commonwealth

In Longshore v. Commonwealth, 260 Va. 3, 530 S.E.2d 146 (2000), the Supreme Court of Virginia reiterated the general standards under which prior testimony of an unavailable witness may be admitted at a later proceeding as an exception to the rules of evidence regarding hearsay. The preliminary hearing testimony of a witness who is absent at a subsequent criminal trial may be admitted into evidence if the following conditions are satisfied: (1) that the witness is presently unavailable; (2) that the prior testimony of the witness was given under oath (or in a form of affirmation that is legally sufficient); (3) that the prior testimony was accurately recorded or that the person who seeks to relate the testimony of the unavailable witness can state the subject matter of the unavailable witness's testimony with clarity and in detail; (4) that the party against whom the prior testimony is offered was present, and represented by counsel, at the preliminary hearing and was afforded the opportunity of cross-examination when the witness testified at the preliminary hearing. Longshore, 260 Va. at 3-4, 530 S.E.2d at 146-47.