Emergency Evidence


Charge: murder. Defense: alibi. At D's trial the prosecution offers a tape recording of a telephone call received by the Boston Police Department 911 emergency operator at 1:09:40 p.m. on March 14. The conversation goes as follows:

Police operator: Police emergency.

Woman: Yes, please. Emergency at 295 Commonwealth Avenue, Apartment 2B.

Police operator: What's going on?

Woman: I was just stabbed.

Police operator: Do you need an ambulance?

Woman: Yes.

The prosecution also offers the testimony of W, a registered nurse. W will testify that he was apartment-hunting with a friend on March 14 on the second floor at 295 Commonwealth Avenue when he heard someone say, "Get a doctor." W looked into a room through a door left ajar and saw a woman lying face down on the floor. W asked the woman what happened, and she replied, "I've been stabbed." W then told the woman that he was going to call for help. The woman responded, "I've already called." After he called the police, W went back to the woman and asked her name. She said, "V." W then checked V's back to determine if she had any injuries to her spine before turning her over and straightening her legs. At that point he could see bloodstains on the clothes. He pulled up the victim's sweater and blouse and exposed a wound just under her ribcage on her right side. W inquired whether the victim suffered from any health problems or allergies, and she answered "migraines" and "mushrooms." W had to repeat his questions. V's responses were getting slower and weaker. She was getting paler. Her pulse was getting threadier and faster.

After getting a towel to place on V's wound, W asked V if she could identify the assailant, and she replied, "Two men." Then W asked her how old they were, and V said, "In their 20s." W asked her their height. V said, "About 6 feet, 2 inches." W couldn't get any further information from V.

Shortly thereafter, a nurse and a doctor arrived at the apartment. V was lifted to a chair and a sheet was wrapped around her. V's head flopped forward. At that point W felt that V would not make it. V died two hours later.

Is either the tape recording or W's testimony admissible? If so, on what theory?

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