State v. Brown

In State v. Brown, 127 Wn.2d 749, 903 P.2d 459 (1995), the defendant was found guilty of second degree rape. At trial, the trial judge admitted a tape of the alleged victim's 911 call as an excited utterance. The testimony from the alleged victim in that case showed that she was initially reluctant to call the police because "she did not think the police would believe she was raped because she went to the apartment willingly and the police knew she was a prostitute." Brown, 127 Wn.2d at 753. To put a more favorable spin on her story, the alleged victim in that case decided she would "tell the police that she had been abducted" and then "went to the assistant manager's apartment to use the phone and called 911 to report the rape." Id. The Court held that the statements made during the 911 call did not fall within the purview of the excited utterance exception, noting that the exception is based on the idea that "'under certain external circumstances of physical shock, a stress of nervous excitement may be produced which stills the reflective faculties and removes their control.'" Brown, 127 Wn.2d at 758. Because it was apparent that the alleged victim had fabricated a portion of her story, the Court concluded that the victim's reflective faculties were not stilled; rather, they were fully functional.