Is this hearsay evidence admissible?There is a bomb threat at school. Anne testifies that she was standing in the school hallway when she heard a student who was walking by say that a bomb had been...

Is this hearsay evidence admissible?

There is a bomb threat at school. Anne testifies that she was standing in the school hallway when she heard a student who was walking by say that a bomb had been planted and would go off at noon. Anne testifies she knew the person who made the bomb threat and pointed them out. Jacob testifies Anne told him students said a bomb had been planted in school. Jacob further testifies that when he asked Anne which student made statement, Anne stared blankly, her jaw dropped, and she shook her head.

Asked on by rlattin

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The answer to this depends on the way in which these statements are going to be used.

As the link below tells us, hearsay can be admissible if all that the attorney is trying to prove is that some statement was made (not that the statement was true).  The link says that hearsay is permissible if the attorney wants the judge or jury

...to consider the fact that a certain statement was made, but not the truthfulness of that statement...

So, Anne's statement would not be admissible as proof that a bomb was planted.  It would be permissible as proof that someone said a bomb had been planted.  It can prove the existence of the statement but not its veracity.

Jacob's second statement is likewise permissible as long as it is being used to shed light on Anne's credibility.  The fact that she took those actions would imply that she did not actually know who had planted the bomb.  This could be used to impeach her testimony.

gigimonvs's profile pic

gigimonvs | College Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

According to the FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE, "Hearsay" is a statement, other than one made by the declaring while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

The contents of the hearsay statement shall not alone be sufficient to establish the guilt on the person.

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