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Hearsay Exceptions

Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted. In legal proceedings, hearsay is generally not admissible as evidence because it needs more reliability from firsthand testimony and cross-examination. However, several exceptions to the hearsay rule allow certain out-of-court statements to be admitted under specific circumstances.


  1. Present Sense Impression: Statements describing or explaining an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition or immediately thereafter.
  2. Declaration Against Interest: If a statement is against the interest of the person who made it, it may be admitted as an exception to hearsay.
  3. Excited Utterance: Statements relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.
  4. Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition: Statements about the declarant’s own mental, emotional, or physical condition (past or present).
  5. Statements for Medical Diagnosis or Treatment: Statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment describing medical history, past or present symptoms, pain, or the general cause of the condition.
  6. Recorded Recollection: A record that is on a matter the witness once knew about but now cannot recall well enough to testify fully and accurately, shown to have been made or adopted by the witness when the matter was fresh in the witness’s memory and that accurately reflects the witness’s knowledge.
  7. Business Records: Records of regularly conducted activity made at or near the time by someone with knowledge, kept during regularly conducted business activities.
  8. Public Records: Records or statements of public offices or agencies setting out the activities of the office or agency or matters observed under a duty imposed by law.
  9. Catch-All Exception: Some jurisdictions have a residual or “catch-all” exception that allows the admission of hearsay evidence if it has equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness and is more probative than prejudicial.

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