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Last Modified: July 18, 2022


court room-2Hearsay refers to second-hand evidence, generally consisting of a witness’s testimony that he/she heard someone else say something” (Utah Courts). “Hearsay is a term applied to that species of testimony given by a witness who relates, not what he knows personally, but what others have told him, or what he has heard said by others.Hearsay evidence is that which does not derive its value solely from the credit of the witness, but rests mainly on the veracity and competency of other persons. The very nature of the evidence shows its weakness, and it is admitted only in specified cases from necessity” (Black’s Law Dictionary).

Example Sentence

The witness’ testimony was a hearsay since she just repeated what she heard about the accident and she did not personally see the actual incident.

Case Study

In the case State v. Parker, John Joseph Parker was accused of murdering Gonzales. Parker’s lawyer told the court that Patrick’s wife is going to testify in court for her husband. She said that her husband acted in self-defense. This information came from her husband who told her that he stabbed somebody in self-defense. Since Mrs. Parker was not present in the scene of the crime or did not witness the actual incident, her testimony can be considered as hearsay or based only on what her husband told her. This kind of testimony is not acceptable or admissible in court.

Other Important Information

Rule 804 listed the following as exceptions to hearsay:

  1. Former testimony
  2. Statement under belief of impending death
  3. Statement of personal or family history.
  4. Statement of a deceased person.
  5. Other exceptions
  • the statement is offered as evidence of a material fact;
  •  the statement is more probative on the point for which it is offered than any other evidence which the proponent can procure through reasonable efforts; and
  •  the general purposes of these rules and the interests of justice will best be served by admission of the statement into evidence.

Photo courtesy of Brad Shorr. The image is in the public domain.