H- Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay Evidence:

Hearsay is small island in a sea full of exceptions

Crime Fiction Murder Mystery:

Detective Coker finally gets some results from the scientific evidence in his ongoing investigation. A preliminary DNA report confirms the presence of sperm from two contributors. One of the sperm contributors is Thomas Clinton, the victim's husband. No big help there. The presence or absence of the husband's sperm on the victim does nothing for his investigation at this point. But, the second sample was left by an unknown contributor. Unfortunately, the second sperm contributor is not in the system. This only means that the person who left the sperm has not been collared for a crime or otherwise provided a previous DNA sample that would remain in the system. The fact that the assailant left DNA will make the case a simple one to solve, once they have a suspect.  The medical Examiner reiterated his earlier statement that the bruises, rips, tears and other evidence is consistent with the victim being raped prior to her death.

They now have the blood type of the contributor of the second sperm sample. B Negative. The second person who had sexual relations with the victim has a rare blood type known as RH negative. This is law enforcements first big break. Only about 2-3% of the population have blood type B negative. This should help narrow the suspect pool, immensely. 

Second piece of evidence detective Coker received for the day: 
The tenant, Michael Prejean told Detective Coker that he specifically remembers his nurse "friend," Jenny, telling him that her boss, Dr. Russo had some really weird RH negative blood type. He specifically remembers the conversation because it occurred during a neighborhood blood drive and Jenny said that the doctor always donated blood, because of how rare and needed it was.

Is this information sufficient to compel Dr. Russo to provide a blood sample? 

What's your verdict on the question?


What is Hearsay:


 Hearsay is a statement, other than the one made by the declarant while testifying at the present trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. 

Let's break that down:
1. Statement - can be an oral or written assertion. Can also be a non verbal statement, if it is intended by him to be an assertion, e.g. nod of the head, thumbs up, a waive.

2. Declarant: The person making the statement

3. Hearsay: a statement that:

  •     The declarant does not make while testifying at the current trial or hearing; and
  •     a party offers in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted
Therefore, a person can be prohibited from testifying to a statement that they personally spoke ... prohibited from testifying about a statement that came from your own mouth?
Huh?
Say what?
How can that be hearsay, you ask?

Example: While I am talking to my friends I say, " Anna just sold Ricky a gun."
Now, I am on the stand, as a witness at a trial.
The lawyer questions me. 
Q: What were you doing on the night in question? 
A: I was outside a bar called The Judges Chambers. I was telling my friends that someone we knew sold a gun.

Objection, your honor. That's hearsay.

No way, you honor. The witness is here and she is testifying right now in court and she is testifying about her very own words.

Answer: Technically, This is hearsay and I should not be allowed to testify to a statement, made by me, other than while testifying at the present trial or proceeding. It is the, other than while testifying at the present trial or proceeding, that matters in this specific example.

Why:

Because an accused has a constitutional right to confront their accuser and the witnesses against them & hearsay evidence is inherently unreliable. Even though I am in court right this minute and the defendant's lawyer can cross examine me. The lawyer was not present on the night in question when I made the statement and therefor I was not subject to cross examination, at the time I made the statement. 

This is an over the top, bizarre example, but I wanted to get the point across.

The statement must also be offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Therefore if the statement is not offered to prove the truth of the statement,  that Anna sold a gun, but is offered only to show that I know what a gun looks like or that I was present at the scene, etc., then it might come in anyway.


In addition to the multitude of hearsay exceptions, such as a dying declaration, excited utterance, statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment, just to name a few, some out of court statements are not considered hearsay. For example, prior inconsistent statements made at another proceeding, or a prior statement admitting guilt. I am not going to go into the details. It would take years to even attempt to explain the complexities of the code of evidence hearsay provisions. If you watch any crime fiction television or films you have undoubtedly seen that lawyers always argue about the admissibility of hearsay statements. 

For our A to Z Crime Fiction Murder Mystery, let's concentrate on whether or not Michael's statement would be admissible in court. If not, is it sufficient to justify compelling Dr. Russo to submit to a blood DNA test.

Today's Clue: Letter H Clue: Heredity 

For a complete list of all facts, witnesses, clues & evidence in my Crime Fiction Murder Mystery, just click on the Legal Fiction page at the top of my blog in the navigation bar.

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5 comments:

  1. Never knew there were so many layers to hearsay evidence. But, it makes sense as you've explained it. Just because I had stated something previously in a conversation doesn't mean it was anything more than gossip at the time.

    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops

    with the A to Z Challenge

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Melissa .. sounds like it is hearsay and therefore it cannot be used to make Dr Russo submit to a DNA test .... however it is strong evidence in the case that needs somehow to be eliminated or otherwise - somehow by Coker devising a way to ascertain that fact, and then using it.


    I need to re-read these again at some stage .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  3. Exactly! You got that so easily. Why do we have to argue it to death in the courtroom.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are on the ball. You've really paid attention. I am impressed

    ReplyDelete

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