EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Until My Dying Day: Were There Any Abortion Cases With True Dying Declarations Admitted?

Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(2) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay

In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil case, [for] a statement that the declarant, while believing the declarant’s death to be imminent, made about its cause or circumstances.

A couple of days ago, I noted that the Advisory Committee indicated that some courts applied the common law analogue to this modern "dying declaration" exception in abortion cases. After some research, however, I haven't found any such cases. Let's take a look at the opinion of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Railing v. Commonwealth, 1 A. 314 (Pa. 1885).

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March 15, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Speaking Ill Of The Dead: D.C. Court Of Appeals Grants New Trial Based on Failure to Impeach Dying Declarant

Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(2) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay

In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil case, [for] a statement that the declarant, while believing the declarant’s death to be imminent, made about its cause or circumstances.

So, how often is a defendant found "not guilty" when the prosecution admits a dying declaration against him? In Kigozi v. United States, 55 A.3d 643 (D.C. 2012), defense "counsel candidly admitted that a dying declaration is 'very powerful,' and that he had 'only won one case ever where there was a dying declaration out of all [the] cases [he had] ever won.'" So, what else about Kigozi was interesting?

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March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Talking Dead: 4 Observations About the Dying Declaration Exception Based on the Advisory Committee's Notes

Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(2) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay

In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil case, [for] a statement that the declarant, while believing the declarant’s death to be imminent, made about its cause or circumstances.

Working off of my post from yesterday about dying declarations being admissible for ("The defendant didn't do it") and against ("The defendant didn't do it"), I wanted to take a look at the Advisory Committee's Note to Rule 804.

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March 13, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It Wasn't Him: Mattox v. United States & The Use of Dying Declarations by Defendants

Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(2) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay

In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil case, [for] a statement that the declarant, while believing the declarant’s death to be imminent, made about its cause or circumstances.

Typically, this "dying declaration" exception is considered to be an arrow in the prosecutorial quiver, with the victim's statement that the defendant shot/stabbed/choked him being used to prove his guilt. But that's not always the case, with the Supreme Court's opinion in Mattox v. United States, 146 U.S. 140 (1892) being the classic example of a dying declaration being used to exonerate the defendant.

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March 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Did You Know That?: NY Case Reveals Personal Knowledge Requirement for Hearsay Statements

I've been writing a good deal recently about Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(2), which provides an exception to the rule against hearsay 

In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil case, [for] a statement that the declarant, while believing the declarant’s death to be imminent, made about its cause or circumstances.

The opinion of the United States DIstrict Court for the Eastern District of New York in United States v. Velentzas, 1993 WL 37339 (E.D.N.Y. 1993), however, notes an important limitation on the dying declaration exception and all hearsay exceptions.

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March 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)