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May 9, 2009
Speaking Ill Of The Dead: Supreme Court Of Minnesota Dodges Question Of Whether Dying Declaration Declarants Can Be Impeached Through Prior Convictions
When a hearsay statement, or a statement defined in Rule 801(d)(2)(C), (D), or (E), has been admitted in evidence, the credibility of the declarant may be attacked, and if attacked may be supported, by any evidence which would be admissible for those purposes if declarant had testified as a witness. Evidence of a statement or conduct by the declarant at any time, inconsistent with the declarant’s hearsay statement, is not subject to any requirement that the declarant may have been afforded an opportunity to deny or explain. If the party against whom a hearsay statement has been admitted calls the declarant as a witness, the party is entitled to examine the declarant on the statement as if under cross-examination.
The clear language of this rule makes the recent opinion of the Supreme Court of Minnesota in State v. Hall, 2009 WL 1228555 (Minn. 2009), confusing.
French did not involve the precise issue before us-a defendant's attempt to impeach with prior convictions. Rather, the defendant in French was attempting to impeach the dying declaration with an inconsistent statement....We need not resolve whether French applies in Hall's case because we conclude that even if Hall should have been allowed to impeach Moore's dying declaration, the district court's refusal to let him do so was harmless error.
May 9, 2009 | Permalink
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