GLF Summary: Hearsay Exception - Then Existing Mental Emotional or Physical Condition
What follows is a summary of an exception to the hearsay rule known as the rule about “Then Existing Mental, Emotional or Physical Conditions.” It is found in Federal Rule of Evidence 803(3).
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.
But, a statement of the declarant’s then-existing state of mind (such as motive, intent, or plan) or emotional, sensory, or physical condition (such as mental feeling, pain, or bodily health) is not excluded by the hearsay rule.
However, this does not include statements of memory or belief to prove the facts remembered or believed unless it relates to the validity or terms of the declarant’s will.
Before a statement can be admitted to show a declarant's then existing state of mind or mental or physical condition the declarant's state of mind or mental or physical condition must be a relevant issue in the case. Determining whether the declarant's state of mind or mental or physical condition is relevant is a question for the court. When state of mind or mental or physical condition is a relevant issue, it is for the jury to determine what the state of mind or mental or physical condition is.
For Example, That defendant gave her "the creeps." That Declarant was afraid of another person. Or That Decedent said she feared defendant would hurt her are all admissible statements of the mental or emotional condition of declarant.
When the court is satisfied that the mental or emotional or physical condition of declarant is relevant, and the statement shows the mental, emotional or physical condition of declarant then the statement should be admitted into evidence
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