Updated: Apr 12, 2012 4:18 PM
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill designed to keep crime victims off the witness stand during the early stages of their cases.
The Republican measure allows hearsay evidence during preliminary hearings, the step in the legal process when a judge decides if there's enough evidence to order a trial.
Hearsay evidence is testimony that quotes someone who isn't available to testify. Until now it's been generally prohibited during preliminary hearings because cross-examination would be difficult.
Allowing hearsay evidence means one witness could testify about all aspects of a case. A single detective, for instance, could testify about what a victim told another officer.
The bill's supporters say the change will save money and time as well as spare victims the trauma of testifying.
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