hearsay | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee

Hearsay is evidence presented by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question but heard about it from someone else.

Hearsay refers to an out-of-court statement made by someone other than the witness presenting it, offered as evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. In simpler terms, hearsay is second-hand information that is not based on personal knowledge or perception.

In the context of a trial, hearsay is generally not admissible as evidence. The reason for this is that it violates the rules of evidence, which require that the evidence presented must be reliable and trustworthy. Hearsay is considered to be unreliable because the person presenting the statement did not witness the incident in question and, thus, cannot attest to its accuracy.

However, there are certain exceptions to the hearsay rule, which allow hearsay evidence to be admitted in court under certain circumstances. These exceptions include statements made by a party to the case, dying declarations, statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment, and statements made in furtherance of a conspiracy, among others.

Courts are generally very strict when it comes to the admission of hearsay evidence, and it is up to the party seeking to introduce the evidence to demonstrate that it falls under one of the recognized exceptions. If the court finds that the evidence is not admissible, it will be excluded from the trial.

It is important to note that even if hearsay evidence is admitted, it does not necessarily mean that it will be given much weight in the final decision-making process. The trier of fact, whether it be a judge or a jury, must evaluate the credibility of the evidence presented and determine its probative value in light of all the other evidence in the case.

Learn More

On This Site

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 04/18/2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.