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Injunction -- Domestic violence -- Evidence-- Hearsay exceptions -- Statements of child victim

Posted by John P. Rutkowski | Dec 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Injunction entered against father for allegedly striking child. The trial court erred in considering child victim's statements to his therapist and mother without determining whether statements were admissible under the child hearsay exception provided in section 90.803(23). The therapist's waiver of therapist-patient privilege did not obviate the need for the trial court to determine admissibility under the statute. The fact that child's statements to his mother were conveyed through mother's sworn petition for an injunction against domestic violence did not excuse trial court from determining the admissibility of those statements under the Child Hearsay Rule, section 90.803(23).  Unlike the sexual violence injunction statute, the domestic violence injunction statute contains no language suggesting that child hearsay statements in a sworn petition filed by a parent can support an injunction, The error was not harmless where the only evidence of abuse came from child hearsay statements. The Final Judgment granting injunction is reversed.

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John P. Rutkowski

Mr. Rutkowski has been practicing law for the past twenty-four years. Prior to going to law school Mr. Rutkowski served as a deputy sheriff before retiring to attend law school. Upon graduating law school Mr. Rutkowski served as a prosecutor in Florida before going in to private practice.

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