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Worthy v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

October 9, 2014

JULIUS L. WORTHY, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE

Argued: April 15, 2014.

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CF3-507-12). (Hon. Jose M. Lopez, Trial Judge).

Justin Murray, Public Defender Service, with whom James Klein, Public Defender Service, was on the brief, for appellant.

Margaret Barr, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman and Michael Marando, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

Before BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY and BECKWITH, Associate Judges, and STEADMAN, Senior Judge. Opinion of the court by Senior Judge STEADMAN. Dissenting opinion by Associate Judge BECKWITH.

OPINION

Page 1096

Steadman, Senior Judge :

Appellant Julius L. Worthy, convicted at a bench trial of assault and attempted threats,[1] challenges the introduction of a prior consistent statement made by the victim relating to threats made by appellant. We conclude that under the circumstances of this case, the prior consistent statement was properly admitted into evidence.

Facts

This case arose out of a family quarrel between Worthy and his older sister, Alexsandra Green, shortly after midnight on January 8, 2012. Green testified that after Worthy said that he was " going to whoop [her] butt," she ran from the apartment and asked a building security guard to call the police. Worthy followed her, the argument continued, and Worthy hit Green several times.

Both parties challenged this testimony with prior inconsistent statements made by Green. The government introduced Green's grand jury testimony, given twelve days after the incident, in which she had said that Worthy had threatened that " [h]e was going to kill [her]." The defense, for its part, impeached Green with her statement to Detective Ricks on January 9, the day following the incident, that her brother " did not do anything to [her]." [2]

The government in rebuttal called Detective Derek Bell. Over the objection of defense counsel, Bell testified to a telephone interview with Worthy the morning of the incident. During the interview, Green told Bell that Worthy " began to assault her, striking her several times in the face," and " at some point, he also made threats towards her, stating that he will kill her." The issue on appeal is whether this prior consistent statement was admissible as an exception to the rule against hearsay.

Analysis

As a general rule, prior consistent statements are not ...


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