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Hearsay: Truth of the Matter Asserted Questions – Arthur Best

February 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment · All Posts, Evidence, Lawdibles Audio

Professor Arthur BestThe standard, broad definition of hearsay is “an out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of whatever it asserts.” The last part of the hearsay definition (“the truth of the matter of whatever it asserts”) is essential to understanding hearsay, but that part can be tricky for law students who first learn the hearsay rule. The fact is, not all statements in court are offered for the truth of the matter asserted.

In this Lawdible Professor Best covers different scenarios where one might offer an out-of court statement for reasons other than the truth of the matter asserted, such as to show that someone who heard a statement had notice or knowledge about something. The analysis reviews the underlying rationale for the hearsay rule, explaining how cross-examination can probe a speaker’s perception, memory, choice of words and apparent honesty. When those aspects of a speaker’s statement would be trivial, the hearsay bar is usually withdrawn.

Audio: Hearsay – How to tell if a statement is offered for truth of the matter asserted by Prof. Arthur Best

CALI Lesson Pairing: The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 2: Statements and What They Assert

Other CALI Lessons of interest:  The Concept of Hearsay, Hearsay From Square One: The Definition of Hearsay, and The Hearsay Rule & Its Exceptions

Arthur Best is a professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He teaches Evidence and Torts, and is the author of a leading student guide to Evidence Law, Evidence: Examples and Explanations. He also is the editor of twice-yearly Supplement Volumes to the treatise Wigmore on Evidence


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