Why Is Hearsay Not Permitted as Evidence in Court

Police reports are another common example of a business case. However, witness testimony contained in a police report cannot necessarily be admitted simply because the report itself is considered a business document. This represents the hearsay problem, where the hearsay document (the report) contains another level of hearsay (witness testimony). To be eligible, each level of hearsay must be subject to an exception. For example, a witness may make a statement in a police report while still excited about the event covered in the report. The police report may be admitted as a business document and the witness` testimony may be admitted as a heated statement. To be clear, the federal rules of evidence, including the hearsay rules, do not apply in ongoing impeachment hearings. But hearsay problems regularly occur when union demands are made, and impeachment hearings serve as an important reminder of how hearsay evidence can (and cannot) be used effectively. It must be made by a person, which means that any statement made by a machine or electronic device cannot be hearsay. Images generated by police video cameras worn on the body and a computer print are admissible as real evidence.

Written, oral or non-verbal communication is a statement subject to hearsay rules only if the communication is intended to be an “affirmation”. See G.S. 8C-801(a). Therefore, statements that do not assert facts, such as questions (“What time is it?”) or instructions (“Get Out of Here”), may qualify as non-hearsay. See, for example, State v. Mitchell, 135 N.C. App. 617 (1999) (the inmate`s order to the respondent to “leave” or “hurry” was not hearsay: “[t]he directions, like those in this case, are not hearsay, because they are merely offered to prove that the direction was given, not to prove the truth of the facts alleged therein.”); G.S.

8C-801, Official Commentary (states that “a preliminary determination is necessary to determine whether an allegation is intended”, but also with the note that “the rule is worded in such a way that the burden is on the party who claims that the intention [to make an allegation] existed” and “ambiguous and dubious cases against him and in favour of admissibility are resolved”); see also State v. Peek, 89 N.C. App. 123 (1988) (name and address written on an envelope were not hearsay because it was not a statement: “The behaviour of the sender in addressing and dispatching the envelope undoubtedly implies that the sender believes that the addressee lives at that address. However, since no allegation is intended, the evidence is hearsay and admissible. There are other, less common exceptions to hearsay, and federal courts (and each state) have their own rules of evidence that apply to hearsay, but the above list is common to most. Hearsay evidence is “second-hand proof.” The exceptions to the hearsay rule, meaning that this evidence is not even defined as hearsay, under Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d) are: Although hearsay rules differ by jurisdiction, many state hearsay rules are modeled on federal rules of evidence. On the other hand, let`s say Henry offers Mother May`s testimony to show that Mother May and Henry communicate regularly about the child.

Henry wants to support his claim that Mother May is a suitable temporary guardian for the child. Henry no longer tries to prove that Wendy actually hit her child. Since Henry does not offer this statement as proof that what Mother May said is true, the statement does not fit the definition of hearsay. Courts sometimes allow confessions to be obtained as evidence, even hearsay, because the fact that the witness is saying something that is contrary to his or her own interests lends weight to the validity of hearsay testimony. A confession is a statement by a litigant that goes against its interests, while a statement against interests is a statement purportedly made by an impartial witness. Rule 801 permits as non-hearsay “the entire category of `oral acts` and `oral parts of an act` in which the statement itself affects the legal rights of the parties or is a circumstance affecting conduct that affects their rights.” G.S. 8C-801, Official Commentary. For example, if the declaration itself constitutes an act under the law (for example, offering a bribe or granting authorization), the declaration is not excluded by Rule 801. See, for example, State v. Weaver, 160 N.C.

App. 61 (2003) (defendant`s offer to pay money to the officer if he was unaware of the drugs he found was a verbal act of offering a bribe); see also 2 McCormick On Evid. § 249 (7th edition, 2016) (Collection of cases and examples of other verbal acts). Often, the courts allow a statement to be made at the same time as an event, especially if it is spontaneous. For example, the driver of a car exclaims when he gets out of the vehicle and sees the injured pedestrian: “I`m so sorry. It was all my fault. This is not only a confession, but it was spontaneous. If the applicant is found to be unavailable, the following type of evidence may be declared admissible in court. The difference is that in the latter case, it does not matter whether Mother May`s statement is true or false. The crucial problem is that the conversation took place. Therefore, the statement is not considered hearsay. Normally, we exclude hearsay because the witness is not present to have his or her credibility judged by the jury and by cross-examination.

The applicant`s credibility is not at issue in this case. Regardless of whether Mother May`s statement is true, there is therefore no reason to exclude her statement for reasons of credibility. Finally, the last exception is the so-called catch-all rule. It provides that evidence of hearsay testimony that does not fall within one of the other exceptions may nevertheless be admitted if it meets the following conditions: statements or writings offered to confirm the testimony of a witness are not offered for the truth of the alleged thing and are therefore not excluded under section 801 of the Regulations. See, for example, State v. Thompson, 250 N.C. App. 158 (2016) (victim statements to the officer were admissible to corroborate the statements admitted to the health workers treating them at the time of the attacks); State v. Royster, 237 N.C. App.

64 (2014) (recordings of telephone calls from prison witnesses were admissible in the murder trial to confirm witness` testimony that the accused shot the victim); State v. Johnson, 209 N.C. App. 682 (2011) (admission of prior written testimony was permitted if it did not contain hearsay testimony); State v. Tellez, 200 N.C. App. 517 (2009) (“Evidence presented for corroboration rather than substantive evidence is not excluded as hearsay”); Staat v. Guice, 141 N.C. App.

177 (2000) (“The trial court did not admit the written statement as substantive evidence, but only for the limited purpose of corroborating evidence, which is not hearsay.”); State v. Coffey, 326 N.C. 268 (1990) (statements about what the child said were admissible to corroborate the mother`s testimony); State v. Riddle, 316 N.C. 152 (1986) (“Collins` testimony was not offered to prove the truth of the alleged case… However, Pamela was only offered to prove that Pamela had made such a statement to Collins. The testimony was therefore not hearsay objectionable. An example of hearsay would be when person A sees someone climbing out of a house window.

Later told Person B that the person he saw was C. (c) Hearsay. – “hearsay” means a statement other than that made by the declarant during his testimony at trial or hearing, which is presented as evidence to prove the truth of the alleged case. For federal courts, the hearsay rules are set out in Article VIII of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Rules 801 to 807. Whenever a witness testifies to what another person said and offers it as evidence that what that other person said is true, then that evidence is offered to prove the truth of the alleged case. For example, Henry wants to testify in a family law case that his wife`s mother, Mother May, said she saw the woman Wendy beat her child. Since Henry testifies to what Mother May said, this testimony could be hearsay. If Henry offers his mother May`s testimony as proof that Wendy beat her child, that`s hearsay. Henry is not the right person to testify to what Mother May said. Mother May must testify to what she observed. (Of course, this exception can confuse jurors, and they can take the evidence to prove that he is a thief: for this reason, the judge must weigh the probative value against the prejudicial value of the evidence, and may prohibit it for that reason.) Hearsay may occur when a document prepared by a witness who is not present at the trial is introduced into evidence. What is worth emphasizing, however, is that exceptions and exceptions to the hearsay rule are just as important as the rule itself.

And the federal rules of evidence specifically state that hearsay/second-hand evidence may be admissible, depending on its use, purpose, and the circumstances in which the witness who testified became aware of its existence. Federal Rule of Evidence 803 alone lists 23 exceptions to the hearsay rule, and there are even more under rules 804-807.