State v. HomerAnnotate this Case
After a bench trial, Appellant was convicted of exploiting an older person, a felony. Prior to the commencement of the trial, the district court held a hearing on the competency of the victim to testify at trial. The court determined that the victim was competent to testify, but by the time of trial, the victim’s health had deteriorated and she was unable to testify. At trial, Appellant asked the district court to admit a transcript of the victim’s testimony at the competency hearing. The district court denied the request, determining that the victim’s competency hearing did not pertain to the issues in the bench trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly applied Mont. R. Evid. 804(b)(1) and did not abuse its discretion in determining that the prior testimony was not sufficiently reliable to come within the exception to the rule excluding hearsay.