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Dept. of Human Services v. G.D.W.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-12-2011
Case #: A147584
Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Brewer, C.J. and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A147584.pdf

Evidence: A child’s out-of-court statements in a dependency case are admissible as statements of a party opponent.

H’s wife reported to the police that H had sexually abused G.D.W., his daughter. G.D.W. admitted to law enforcement that H sexual abused her. At trial, the court admitted G.D.W.’s out-of-court statements regarding the sexual abuse. Later, W retracted her statements and testified that she told G.D.W. to say that H touched her. However, other witnesses testified to W’s earlier description of abuse. The juvenile court found against H, disbelieving W’s new story. On appeal, H argued the Court should review de novo, and claimed evidence against him was insufficient to prove he sexually abused G.D.W. The Court of Appeals rejected its discretion to apply de novo review pursuant to ORS 19.415(3)(b) and reviewed for errors of law. Applying that standard, the Court found there sufficient existed to support the juvenile court’s finding against H. Thus, the juvenile court properly admitted the daughter’s non-hearsay statements as statements of a party opponent. Affirmed.