dying declaration

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Dying Declaration

A statement by a person who is conscious and knows that death is imminent concerning what he or she believes to be the cause or circumstances of death that can be introduced into evidence during a trial in certain cases.

A dying declaration is considered credible and trustworthy evidence based upon the general belief that most people who know that they are about to die do not lie. As a result, it is an exception to the Hearsay rule, which prohibits the use of a statement made by someone other than the person who repeats it while testifying during a trial, because of its inherent untrustworthiness. If the person who made the dying declaration had the slightest hope of recovery, no matter how unreasonable, the statement is not admissible into evidence. A person who makes a dying declaration must, however, be competent at the time he or she makes a statement, otherwise, it is inadmissible.

A dying declaration is usually introduced by the prosecution, but can be used on behalf of the accused.

As a general rule, courts refuse to admit dying declarations in civil cases, even those for Wrongful Death, or in criminal actions for crimes other than the Homicide of the decedent.

State and Federal Rules of Evidence govern the use of dying declarations in their respective proceedings.

Further readings

Adelkoff, Sherri K. 1998. "Dialing 'M' for Murder: Analyzing the Admissibility of the Telephone Dying Declaration." Duquesne Law Review 36 (spring): 545–61.

Bernstein, Michelle A. 1997."Evidence—A Modern Application of Dying-Declaration Exception to Hearsay Rule." Suffolk University Law Review 30 (summer): 575–81.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

dying declaration

n. the statement of a mortally injured person who is aware he/she is about to die, telling who caused the injury and possibly the circumstances ("Frankie shot me"). Although hearsay since the dead person cannot testify in person, it is admissible in homicide cases on the theory that a dying person has no reason not to tell the truth.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

dying declaration

in the law of evidence, an exception to the hearsay rule in England whereby the oral or written statement of a dying person may be used in evidence at the trial of a person for his murder if he would have been a competent witness himself To be effective, the maker must have been in hopeless expectation of his death. Its basis is that the person being so near death is unlikely to lie when he is so soon to come before a higher authority.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
The model court rules that prosecution failed to prove the 'dying declaration'
Over the years, courts have held that notwithstanding section 33(a) of the Evidence Act, the evidence of a dying declaration must be admitted with caution because it is not subject to the test of cross-examination and the circumstances leading to the person's death may have caused confusion in him and rendered his perception questionable.
The dying declaration has a sanctity attached to it.
'In 1925, a British judge of the Lahore High Court remarked that in every part of the world, a dying declaration had sanctity attached to it.
It turned out that Dot Cottan's dying declaration (which started the whole H thing off in the first place) was not pointing the finger at one bent copper.
It was nothing short of miraculous that Arnott somehow managed to deduce from a freeze-framed shot of Dot's dying declaration that Dot was doing something important with his left hand.
He had submitted that the high court wrongly upheld his conviction solely on the basis of of the dying declaration of the deceased who had narrated different versions of the incident and their statements were inconsistent.
Her indiscretions included details of the dying declaration of The Caddy, or Matthew "Dot" Cottan, another bent copper played by Craig Parkinson.
It later emerged that the man had given a dying declaration to the magistrate that he was taking his life because he was disgruntled with society.
DSP Ikechukwu added that 'before the lady died, she made a dying declaration of who attempted to stab her.
Craig's character was killed off in series three of Line of Duty, but he made a dying declaration that could be key to series four when it returns to our screens next year.
Police file closure report as happened in the lynching case of Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan despite the dying declaration of the victim naming the accused.