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Chapter3 - CHAPTER 3 The Hearsay Rule A INTRODUCTION THE...

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CHAPTER 3 _______________________________ The Hearsay Rule A. INTRODUCTION: THE IDEA BEHIND THE HEARSAY RULE Questions for Classroom Discussion [p. 140] 1. Why do we have a hearsay rule? How does it affect the fact-finding process? 2. If the witness and the declarant are the same person (i.e., if the witness is testifying about her own out-of-court statement), why should the statement ever be classified as hearsay? 3. Suppose a statement is hearsay and is not admissible pursuant to an exception. If the judge believes that the probative value of the statement is not outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, does the judge have the authority to admit the evidence? B. THE RULE 1. “Statement” 2. “Declarant” 3. Statement Made “Other Than While Testifying at the Trial or Hearing” Questions for Classroom Discussion [p. 145] 1. To prove that Defendant committed the crime, a police officer testifies that at a line-up, an eyewitness to the crime pointed to Defendant when asked whether the person who committed the crime was among those in the group. Is the eyewitness’s conduct a statement? 2. To prove that Defendant committed the crime, evidence is offered that a bloodhound trained to track a scent followed a trail from the crime scene and “pointed” to Defendant. Is this a statement? 1
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3. To prove that the “surf was up” at a particular beach, evidence is offered that hordes of surfers headed for that beach. Is this a statement? 4. To prove that an officer had just entered the barracks, evidence is offered that the lead enlisted person in the barracks loudly snapped to “attention” and yelled, “Atten-Hut!” Is this a statement? 5. To prove that the defendant committed the crime, a testifying witness points to the Defendant when asked if the person who committed the crime is in the courtroom. Is this a statement for purposes of the hearsay rule? If so, is it covered by the rule? 6. During Denise’s murder trial, a spectator in the gallery stands up and yells, “Denise is a murderer.” Is this statement covered by the hearsay rule? 7. At a trial, a party wishes to offer in evidence a statement made by a person in a deposition. Is this statement covered by the hearsay rule? 8. Same case. A witness testifying at trial is asked, “Tell us what you said in your deposition.” Is this statement covered by the hearsay rule? 4. Statement “Offered in Evidence to Prove the Truth of the Matter Asserted” Questions for Classroom Discussion [p. 148] 1. Why is a statement classified as hearsay only if it is “offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted”? In each of the following hypotheticals, indicate whether the statement or conduct is “offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” 2. Prosecution of Defendant for the murder of Victim. To prove that Zed, another person, committed the crime, Defendant offers evidence that Zed confessed to the crime.
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