Peace Officer Hearsay Testimony Pursuant to the Crime Victims Justice Reform Act
On June 5, 1990, the majority of California voters passed Proposition 115 – The Crime Victims Justice Reform Act. Among other provisions in the Proposition is the allowance for peace officers with specified training or experience to provide hearsay testimony during preliminary hearings. The law required peace officers either attend POST-developed training or meet the five-year experience level to qualify.
After the passage of Proposition 115, POST created a training video specific to the new law in conjunction with an update to the Regular Basic Course (RBC-“Academy”) curriculum. The video training was created only as a stopgap for those officers who had less than five years’ experience at the time and who had not completed the new hearsay curriculum added to certain basic courses that covered, and still cover, the topic of hearsay testimony. The full-length training DVD, "Hearsay Testimony," includes Proposition 115-related content along with investigations, information preservation, and statements in alignment with the law and practices in effect at that time. The video is available to subscribers of the POST Learning Portal.
Peace officers who attended the Regular Basic Course, Specialized Investigators Basic Course, PC 832, or Module III that began on or after July 1, 2007, received the new hearsay material and have “qualifying training” based on the inclusion of that training in their basic course. Anyone who attended a basic course before the training’s inclusion may now have the five years’ experience and could qualify (determined locally).
Qualifying to Provide Hearsay Testimony at Preliminary Hearings
Various peace officers positions may or may not qualify and the decision on which classifications qualify is for the local District Attorney’s Office to prove or bring forth as a matter of law.
Although the Hearsay Testimony DVD is available from POST through our catalog or from local agencies, those wanting to qualify personnel to present hearsay testimony at preliminary hearings pursuant to Proposition 115 should first contact their local District Attorney’s Office and determine the local training, experience, and peace officer classification required to present hearsay testimony in their jurisdiction.