Evidence Question (hearsay)

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gmmathers
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Evidence Question (hearsay)

Postby gmmathers » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:53 pm

This question concerns the corroboration requirement for statements against interest in criminal trials when a declarant is unavailable under FRE 804:

If John brags to his friends that he committed a crime, we probably view it as trustworthy and are not worried about his sincerity because, in confessing to his best friends, John doesn’t expect to be exposing himself to criminal liability (they aren’t likely to snitch). From this perspective, the corroborating evidence says we should admit it as trustworthy.

But if it’s true that he risked nothing by telling his best friends, then the statement is not really against his interest. The exception is justified because “people do not lie to hurt themselves.” But if there was no chance of the statement hurting him, then this same corroborating evidence suggests that we should not admit it because he may have been lying (indeed, maybe trying to get street cred. from his friends or impress a girl).

So which way does the corroboration evidence cut?

Renzo
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Re: Evidence Question (hearsay)

Postby Renzo » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:01 pm

gmmathers wrote:This question concerns the corroboration requirement for statements against interest in criminal trials when a declarant is unavailable under FRE 804:

If John brags to his friends that he committed a crime, we probably view it as trustworthy and are not worried about his sincerity because, in confessing to his best friends, John doesn’t expect to be exposing himself to criminal liability (they aren’t likely to snitch). From this perspective, the corroborating evidence says we should admit it as trustworthy.

But if it’s true that he risked nothing by telling his best friends, then the statement is not really against his interest. The exception is justified because “people do not lie to hurt themselves.” But if there was no chance of the statement hurting him, then this same corroborating evidence suggests that we should not admit it because he may have been lying (indeed, maybe trying to get street cred. from his friends or impress a girl).

So which way does the corroboration evidence cut?


Yep. That's how you analyze it.

zomginternets
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Re: Evidence Question (hearsay)

Postby zomginternets » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:02 pm

I think the exception takes the view that there's always the possibility that what is said against his interest could potentially harm him (i.e. friend could tell the cops, etc.), so as long as it's against his interests, it's admissible. The street cred argument can still be brought up during the trial, and that will help the jury assess the weight they give the statement, but that's not an issue of admissibility.

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Tanicius
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Re: Evidence Question (hearsay)

Postby Tanicius » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:11 pm

zomginternets wrote:I think the exception takes the view that there's always the possibility that what is said against his interest could potentially harm him (i.e. friend could tell the cops, etc.), so as long as it's against his interests, it's admissible. The street cred argument can still be brought up during the trial, and that will help the jury assess the weight they give the statement, but that's not an issue of admissibility.


Yup. Goes to weight, not admissibility.




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