hearsay rule


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hearsay rule

n. the basic rule that testimony or documents which quote persons not in court are not admissible. Because the person who supposedly knew the facts is not in court to state his/her exact words, the trier of fact cannot judge the demeanor and credibility of the alleged first-hand witness, and the other party's lawyer cannot cross-examine (ask questions of) him or her. However, as significant as the hearsay rule itself are the exceptions to the rule which allow hearsay testimony such as: a) a statement by the opposing party in the lawsuit which is inconsistent with what he/she has said in court (called an "admission against interest"); b) business entries made in the regular course of business, when a qualified witness can identify the records and tell how they were kept; c) official government records which can be shown to be properly kept; d) a writing about an event made close to the time it occurred, which may be used during trial to refresh a witness' memory about the event; e) a "learned treatise" which means historical works, scientific books, published art works, maps and charts; f) judgments in other cases; g) a spontaneous excited or startled utterance ("oh, God, the bus hit the little girl"); h) contemporaneous statement which explains the meaning of conduct if the conduct was ambiguous; i) a statement which explains a person's state of mind at the time of an event; j) a statement which explains a person's future intentions ("I plan to....") if that person's state of mind is in question; k) prior testimony, such as in deposition (taken under oath outside of court), or at a hearing, if the witness is not available (including being dead); l) a declaration by the opposing party in the lawsuit which was contrary to his/her best interest if the party is not available at trial (this differs from an admission against interest which is admissible in trial if it differs from testimony at trial); m) a dying declaration by a person believing he/she is dying; n) a statement made about one's mental set, feeling, pain or health, if the person is not available---most often applied if the declarant is dead ("my back hurts horribly," and then dies); o) a statement about one's own will when the person is not available; p) other exceptions based on a judge's discretion that the hearsay testimony in the circumstances must be reliable. (See: hearsay, admission against interest, dying declaration)

References in periodicals archive ?
by--someone with knowledge" are immune from the hearsay rule.
Several states have defined the abuse of discretion standard to apply to both the interpretation of a hearsay rule, which is a matter of law, as well as to the admissibility of the hearsay, which is a matter of discretion.
The appellant in Dorsey raised the issue of violation of his confrontation rights exclusively and did not raise the issue of general admissibility under the hearsay rules.
2000) (observing that even adoptive admissions being treated as an exception to the hearsay rule is a practice that is at least two centuries old); 4 JOHN HENRY WIGMORE, EVIDENCE IN TRIALS AT COMMON LAW [section][section] 1048-49 (James J.
While the court's opinion does not describe the position taken by the defendant Cottrell, it appears that Cottrell argued that Rule 212(a)(5) implicitly limited the otherwise applicable exception to the hearsay rule available under Rule 212(a)(3), so that the former testimony exception was not available to admit depositions that did not meet the requirements of Rule 212(a)(5).
If the probative value of their content depends on someone who is not giving evidence the statutory hearsay rule and its exceptions should apply to them" (16) (references excluded).
CROSS-EXAMINATION, CONFRONTATION, AND THE HEARSAY RULE
According to Professor Morgan, such statements are admitted into evidence as exceptions to the hearsay rule because "[a]ll the substantial reasons for excluding hearsay" do not apply to these statements.
12) Before Crawford, the Sixth Amendment and the hearsay rule "dealt with the problem of the reliability of second-hand evidence in much the same way.
26) Nevertheless, the statements can be admitted, for purposes of both the hearsay rule and the Confrontation Clause, under the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.
Many of the documents in agency files are not public records encompassed by the public records exception to the hearsay rule.
Enormous uncertainty remains as to whether other exceptions to the hearsay rule would allow the use of out-of-court statements against criminal defendants.