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(8) Hearsay and Its Exceptions

(8) Hearsay and Its Exceptions - CJ 1123 Criminal Evidence...

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CJ 1123 Criminal Evidence and Procedure Hearsay and Its Exceptions Hearsay and Its Exceptions 8-1 Basic Hearsay Principles Our systems requires that a case be decided on the basis of sworn testimony given in the presence of the trial judge or jury General rule – out of court statements may not be used as evidence Hearsay: a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter 1. What is a statement? A "statement" is (1) an oral or written assertion or (2) nonverbal conduct of a person, if it is intended by the person as an assertion Includes oral, written, video/audio recording and nonverbal Letters, business records, will Body movement with the intent to communicate (example?) A statement is hearsay if it is not made in court at the hearing that is currently being conducted Even sworn testimony at the preliminary hearing is hearsay Witness’s account of what he/she said while the crime was being committed is hearsay 2. Who is a declarant? Person who made the statement 3. What is meant by “offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter?” Something is “offered” when the atty wants the jury to believe the answer 8.2 The Hearsay Rule Basic rule – hearsay is not admissible in court The origins of the hearsay rule can be traced to the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh in 1603, who was found guilty of high treason on the basis of testimony that someone had overheard someone else say they heard Raleigh would slit the King's throat. Reasons Distrust for testimony not made under oath Made without any fear of prosecution for perjury Jury can not see the person who made the statement Can not questions and cross examine for veracity 6 th A – right to confront and cross those who accuse you of a crime When hearsay is used these rights are denied Crawford v Washington (2004) – testimonial hearsay is admissible in a criminal trial only if the witness is unavailable and the defendant had a prior opportunity to cross that witness Meridith Spencer Page 1 of 7
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CJ 1123 Criminal Evidence and Procedure Hearsay and Its Exceptions Specifically applies to introduction of statements made at the prelim hearing, before a grand jury or at a formal trial and answers given during police interrogation 8.3 Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule There are many exceptions to the hearsay rule Often, more than one exception will apply Double hearsay – hearsay within hearsay not excluded under the hearsay rule if each part of the combined statements conforms with an exception to the hearsay rule provided in these rules. 8.4 Admissions and Confessions Statements made by parties to the lawsuit are not hearsay They will be admissible if the atty establishes the proper foundation Only concerns: 1. did the person make the statement 2. are they mentally competent Reason – a person would not make untrue statement that could be used against him or her (statement against self interest)
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