dying declaration

Also found in: Wikipedia.

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.

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.

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Singh had said in his dying declaration that he was set on fire by the policemen on the direction of the minister.
He was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Charsadda where he gave his dying declaration that unidentified persons opened fire at him in Mohallah Teelyan Mama Khel Prang.
In an impassioned opening statement, Mr Emmerson told the inquiry: "When all of the open and closed evidence is considered together, Mr Litvinenko's dying declaration will be borne as true, that the trail of polonium traces lead not just from London to Moscow but directly to the door of Vladimir Putin and Mr Putin should be unmasked by this inquiry as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state.
Eline filed as an intervenor in Engelhardt's appeal case, detailing his final moments with his cellmate, including the priest's dying declaration.
In his dying declaration, Mustafa had told the magistrate that two soldiers had poured kerosone on him and set him on fire.
After slapping me, they poured kerosene on me and set me on fire", Mustafa said in his dying declaration.
She gave us a dying declaration in front of the health officials that she was set on fire by two persons close to the accused when she was alone at home on December 23," local policeman Nimbala Santosh Uttamrao told.
Meanwhile, Robbo's dying declaration gives Toadie hope that he might not have to face a manslaughter charge.
A fast-track court, which had earlier on Tuesday convicted the four by relying on the victim's dying declaration and forensic evidence, described the crime as 'premeditated' and 'brutal' act.
A Hindustan Times report quotes an inspector of police as stating an arrest had been made "on the basis of her [the child's] dying declaration and eyewitness accounts.
Addressing the contention that Vandana had made four dying declarations which were inconsistent and could not be relied upon, the court said: "When the (trial) court is satisfied that the dying declaration is voluntary, not tainted by tutoring or animosity, and is not a product of the imagination of the declarant, in that event there is no impediment in convicting the accused on the basis of such dying declaration.
The police claimed that they have a mountain of evidence against the accused, including the girl's dying declaration and the testimony of her male friend who was with her on the fateful night.