New GLF Video Summary: Hearsay and Family Records
We dropped a new video summary of an exception to the hearsay rule known as the rule about “Family Records.” It is found in Federal Rule of Evidence 803 (13). Please recall that ‘‘Hearsay’’ refers to a statement that is not made while testifying at the current trial or hearing and 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 to this rule says that Family Records are not hearsay.
Specifically, 803(13) exempts Family Records from the hearsay rule. A “family record” is a statement of fact about personal or family history contained in a family record, such as a Bible, genealogy, chart, engraving on a ring, inscription on a portrait, or engraving on an urn or burial marker. The information proffered in the records must be concerning personal or family history or Rule 803(13) will not apply. This exception to the hearsay rule, like many others, rests “on the belief that certain statements are, by their nature, made for a purpose other than use in a prosecution and therefore should not be barred by hearsay prohibitions.”
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