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hearsay Archives

Court Approves Statute Allowing Video Hearsay Statements from Children

Generally, hearsay statements, which are extrajudicial assertions of testimonial facts, are not admissible in criminal trials in Tennessee. However, the Rules of Evidence provide specific exceptions and indicate other exceptions could apply as well. In 2009, the Tennessee Legislature passed a law specifically allowing for the admission into evidence of relevant video hearsay statements of children under the age of thirteen when the statements describe sex abuse and when, in the judgment of the trial court, a list of criteria is met which is designed to ensure the reliability of the statements. In the recent case of State v. McCoy, M2013-00912-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 12-1-2014), the Tennessee Supreme Court addressed constitutional challenges to this evidentiary statute and approved its constitutionality and application.

Court Approves Statute Allowing Video Hearsay Statements from Children

Generally, hearsay statements, which are extrajudicial assertions of testimonial facts, are not admissible in criminal trials in Tennessee. However, the Rules of Evidence provide specific exceptions and indicate other exceptions could apply as well. In 2009, the Tennessee Legislature passed a law specifically allowing for the admission into evidence of relevant video hearsay statements of children under the age of thirteen when the statements describe sex abuse and when, in the judgment of the trial court, a list of criteria is met which is designed to ensure the reliability of the statements. In the recent case of State v. McCoy, M2013-00912-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. 12-1-2014), the Tennessee Supreme Court addressed constitutional challenges to this evidentiary statute and approved its constitutionality and application.

Hearsay Made For Medical Diagnosis is Admissible

Hearsay is an evidentiary term usually describing out of court statements which a party is attempting to introduce in a court proceeding to establish the fact asserted in the statement. Generally, hearsay is not admissible under the rules of evidence in Tennessee courts, federal courts, and other U.S. state courts. But hearsay has a specific definition, defined in the applicable evidentiary rules. Many out-of-court statements are not hearsay (often because they are not being introduced to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement). And there are a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule. One such exception in Tennessee pertains to statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment. The reason these statements are an exception is the idea that people are less likely to be deceptive when providing information to a medical professional attempting to diagnose and treat them. This exception applies, as noted in the recent Tennessee case of State v. Felts, M2013-00939-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-8-2014) as well to statements made by a child to a medical professional conducting an examination after allegations of sexual abuse.

Hearsay Made For Medical Diagnosis is Admissible

Hearsay is an evidentiary term usually describing out of court statements which a party is attempting to introduce in a court proceeding to establish the fact asserted in the statement. Generally, hearsay is not admissible under the rules of evidence in Tennessee courts, federal courts, and other U.S. state courts. But hearsay has a specific definition, defined in the applicable evidentiary rules. Many out-of-court statements are not hearsay (often because they are not being introduced to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement). And there are a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule. One such exception in Tennessee pertains to statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment. The reason these statements are an exception is the idea that people are less likely to be deceptive when providing information to a medical professional attempting to diagnose and treat them. This exception applies, as noted in the recent Tennessee case of State v. Felts, M2013-00939-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-8-2014) as well to statements made by a child to a medical professional conducting an examination after allegations of sexual abuse.

Hearsay Made For Medical Diagnosis is Admissible

Hearsay is an evidentiary term usually describing out of court statements which a party is attempting to introduce in a court proceeding to establish the fact asserted in the statement. Generally, hearsay is not admissible under the rules of evidence in Tennessee courts, federal courts, and other U.S. state courts. But hearsay has a specific definition, defined in the applicable evidentiary rules. Many out-of-court statements are not hearsay (often because they are not being introduced to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement). And there are a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule. One such exception in Tennessee pertains to statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment. The reason these statements are an exception is the idea that people are less likely to be deceptive when providing information to a medical professional attempting to diagnose and treat them. This exception applies, as noted in the recent Tennessee case of State v. Felts, M2013-00939-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-8-2014) as well to statements made by a child to a medical professional conducting an examination after allegations of sexual abuse.

Reliable Hearsay is Permitted in a Sentencing Proceeding

'Hearsay' is an evidentiary term usually referring to  an assertion of fact made outside of court which a party attempts to introduce as evidence in court to prove the truth the assertion. The federal rules of evidence and the rules of evidence of each state have their specific definitions of what hearsay is, and when it is or is not admissible in a court proceeding. Hearsay is often excluded from admissibility in court proceedings based on the concept that evaluating the credibility of the assertion depends upon evaluating the credibility of a declarant (the person making the assertion) who is not testifying and who may not even be in the courtroom. But litigants and courts must be careful in determining whether a statement, even if allegedly made by another person, is actually hearsay under the applicable rules, and, if it is, whether some exception applies. Many remarks are not assertions of fact by the declarant, and so are not hearsay. In addition, there are a number of exceptions which may apply, depending on who is seeking to introduce the statement, the purpose in introducing it, and the nature of the proceeding.

Reliable Hearsay is Permitted in a Sentencing Proceeding

'Hearsay' is an evidentiary term usually referring to  an assertion of fact made outside of court which a party attempts to introduce as evidence in court to prove the truth the assertion. The federal rules of evidence and the rules of evidence of each state have their specific definitions of what hearsay is, and when it is or is not admissible in a court proceeding. Hearsay is often excluded from admissibility in court proceedings based on the concept that evaluating the credibility of the assertion depends upon evaluating the credibility of a declarant (the person making the assertion) who is not testifying and who may not even be in the courtroom. But litigants and courts must be careful in determining whether a statement, even if allegedly made by another person, is actually hearsay under the applicable rules, and, if it is, whether some exception applies. Many remarks are not assertions of fact by the declarant, and so are not hearsay. In addition, there are a number of exceptions which may apply, depending on who is seeking to introduce the statement, the purpose in introducing it, and the nature of the proceeding.

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