The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Tyme on Thursday, April 25, 2013.
Sexual Assault—Hearsay—Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner—Medical Diagnosis or Treatment.
Defendant Justyn E. Tyme appealed the trial court’s judgment of conviction entered on jury verdicts finding him guilty of sexual assault, third-degree assault, and false imprisonment. The judgment was affirmed.
This case stems from Tyme’s sexual assault of the victim, G.A. Five days after the assault and at the request of law enforcement, G.A. submitted to a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) examination that was performed by Sue Goebel. At trial, Goebel testified, as an expert witness, about information she had learned from G.A. during the exam. Both Goebel’s testimony and her report were allowed as evidence at trial.
On appeal, Tyme contended that the trial court abused its discretion in concluding that both the SANE testimony and her report were admissible under the medical diagnosis or treatment hearsay exception because the purpose of the SANE examination was to collect evidence, not to treat or diagnose the victim. Generally, statements made for purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment, including a SANE exam, are admissible if (1) the statement is reasonably pertinent to treatment or diagnosis; and (2) the content of the statement is such that it is reasonably relied on by a physician in treatment or diagnosis. Here, Goebel testified that she relied on the medical history to guide her examination and used it “to diagnose and treat,” thereby satisfying the first prong of the reliability test. She also testified that SANEs normally rely on similar histories to “guide the[ir] diagnosis and treatment,” thereby demonstrating the reasonableness of her reliance on G.A.’s statements in satisfaction of the second prong of the reliability test. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting Goebel’s testimony or her report.
Summary and full case available here.