This course will cover hearsay from A-to-Z. We'll begin by defining hearsay: what it is, where it lurks, and how to spot it. We will examine the basic rules on its admissibility, as well as the policy reasons behind those rules. We will then discuss the most common ways to avoid the ban on hearsay evidence, including using out-of-court statements for non-hearsay purposes, finding exclusions from the rule against hearsay, and applying the exceptions found in the Federal Rules of Evidence. Finally, we’ll examine hearsay in the context of criminal trials, where hearsay raises Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause concerns. The course will be taught using the Federal Rules of Evidence. However, these rules are identical-or nearly identical-to their state counterparts.
Learning Objectives: By the end of this course, students should be able to:
- Define and identify hearsay;
- Define and identify a "witness," "declarant," and "assertion";
- Understand hearsay and non-hearsay uses for out-of-court statements;
- Understand the ban on hearsay and the policies that underlie the ban;
- Understand the structure of exclusions and exceptions to hearsay contained in the Federal Rules of Evidence;
- Understand and apply the most common exclusions and exceptions to hearsay;
- Understand the Confrontation Clause, and why hearsay raises constitutional problems;
- Understand and apply the most recent United States Supreme Court Confrontation Clause rulings.