GLF Summary Series: Hearsay Rule and Excited Utterance
Here we offer a short video summary of one of the exceptions to the hearsay rule. This one is the Excited Utterance exception found in Federal Rule of Evidence 803(2).
Please recall that ‘‘Hearsay’’ means a statement that is not made while testifying at the current trial or hearing; and it is offered into evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.
A ‘‘statement’’ is what a person said or wrote but also includes nonverbal conduct, if the person
intended the conduct as an assertion.
The General Rule is that Hearsay statements are not admissible in court.
One Exception is the rule regarding a statement that is referred to as an Excited Utterance
An “Excited Utterance” is a statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the
declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.
When considering whether this exception applies, the court will ask “Was the person making the statement "still dominated by the emotions, excitement, fear, or pain of the event or condition" at the time?
Some of the Relevant Factors to be considered are the length of time between the event and the statement that was made, the nature of the declarant – whether a victim being beaten or assaulted for example. Whether the statement was made in response to a question. And, whether the statement was self-serving at the time that it was made rather than a something said in response to a shocking situation.
One Example is the case of Brezina v. State in which an assault victim exclaimed “You’re killing me!!” and the Perpetrator allegedly resonded: “I know! I know”
Once the court is satisfied the exception applies the statement will usually be admitted into evidence.
The Girards Law Firm helps the families of those severely injured or killed by reckless conduct of others. Call 214-346-9529 for a free consultation.