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Cutting Through the “He Said She Said”: What Hearsay Really Means

I often have clients tell me that a statement in a criminal complaint, a police narrative, or something said in a videotaped interrogation is bogus evidence because it is “just hearsay.”  That may well be the case, but such a statement is an oversimplification.

Before diving deeper it is important to understand what hearsay is, or at least as it is understood by the legal community.  “Hearsay” is generally understood by lawyers to be any out-of-court-statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted.  More simply, hearsay is a statement that is being offered in court to prove that the contents of the statement are true.  That last word is key.

Whether or not a statement is hearsay depends on the purpose for which it is being introduced in court.  For example, if at a trial to determine whether Zane committed theft, Andy testifies that Brandy told him that she was the one who committed theft, whether or not this statement is admissible depends (in part) on the purpose this testimony is being introduced.

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Oshkosh, Alcohol, and Public Intoxication

The snow is melting in Oshkosh and soon spring will be here— starting the annual season of pub crawls, music festivals…..and the drinking that’s common at these events.  While this is a part of life for many young people and students in the area, here are some things to keep in mind so you can stay out of trouble.

First, the City of Oshkosh has its own municipal code, and you can be charged with violating it by the city.  These offenses have separate penalties that are not necessarily the same as if you charged with a crime by the state.  Relevant to most college students is Section 17-7, which prohibits having open alcohol containers in certain public areas—for instance, on streets and sidewalks.  If you violate this law, you can be fined anywhere from $75 to $500, in addition to having to pay court fees.  If you don’t pay the fine, your driver’s license can be suspended or you could even serve up to 60 days in jail.

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Arrested in Oshkosh? | Information you need to know


             An arrest can be a parent’s or grandparent’s worst nightmare.  Maybe your child or grandchild made a mistake.  Or, even worse, your child or grandchild has been wrongfully accused of some criminal wrongdoing.

In the event one of your loved ones faces arrest or is taken into custody by law enforcement, you should be aware of the following information.  Many times officers make an arrest based on alleged probable cause without an arrest warrant.  This is a completely legal process.  If an officer makes a warrantless arrest, your child or grandchild’s arrest must be reviewed by an impartial magistrate (judge or court commissioner) within 48 business hours of arrest.  However, this does not mean your child or grandchild will go in front of the judge for a bail hearing at that time.  If a magistrate determines that probable cause exists, your son or daughter or grandchild could still sit in jail for days or more before going to court.

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Subpoenas | Help I've been subpoenaed to court!

If I’m not on Trial, do I need a Lawyer?

So you’ve been subpoenaed. Maybe this is for a case where you called the police in the first place because you were a victim or a witness. Maybe this is for a case you where you were a witness months and months ago. You’re not even sure you can remember anything! Maybe this is for a case where your friend is on trial, and you’re afraid of what you know, both for your friends’ sake and your own.

In almost all cases, you are given very little direction: a phone call to dial the night (or, if you’re lucky, the weekend) before the trial date, maybe a chance to talk to the State if you were the victim. However, that’s very little preparation ahead of time. Especially considering how big of a deal trials are! You’ll probably have to take the day off of work, the trial will probably run late (hint: it almost always does), you might not be able to remember everything now, you get nervous talking in public, the court reporter is going to be writing down everything you say, and the judge and the jury will be, well, judging you.

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