Dying Declarations - Children

Criminal Law Update

People v Stamper,480 Mich1(2007)(dec'07). In this case a four-year-old with multiple injuries implicated defendant after being admitted to the hospital. He had previously told his mother that he could not open his eyes because he was dead. He later died.The trial court admitted the victim's statement implicating defendant under the dying declaration exception, MRE 804(b)(2). In this unanimous memorandum opinion, the Michigan supreme court held that the four-year-old's statements to his mother that he was already dead, when considered with his injuries, clearly indicated his belief that his death was imminent. A declarant's age alone does not preclude admission of a dying declaration.