ARTICE: "I Didn't Tell Them Anything About You": Implied Assertions as Hearsay Under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1990 Minnesota Law Review
Minnesota Law Review

ARTICE: "I Didn't Tell Them Anything About You": Implied Assertions as Hearsay Under the Federal Rules of Evidence.

April, 1990

74 Minn. L. Rev. 783

Author

Roger C. Park *

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Definitions of hearsay are either assertion-centered or declarant-centered. Under an assertion definition, an out-of-court statement is hearsay when offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. 1 Under a declarant definition, an out-of-court statement is hearsay when it depends for value on the credibility of the declarant. 2

Over much hearsay territory, the difference between the two definitions has no effect. 3 Most utterances that would be nonhearsay under the assertion definition also would be nonhearsay under the declarant definition. The two definitions can produce different results, however, in classifying an "implied assertion." 4

An utterance is being used to prove an implied assertion when it depends for value on the credibility of the declarant, but is not being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. 5 An example of such an utterance is a letter describing a voyage, offered in evidence not to prove anything about the voyage, but to prove that the person to whom the letter was addressed was a person of ordinary understanding. When offered for this purpose, the letter is not being offered to prove the truth of what it asserts. Its use in evidence, however, does require reliance on the declarant's credibility. 6

Hearsay scholars tend to prefer the declarant definition to the assertion definition, 7 or to conclude that the two definitions are the same. 8 I disagree with both positions, and attempt in this Article to refute them. First, I believe that to ...
 
 
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