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A declarant is person who makes a statement they allege to be true. Typically, such statements are written and signed.  A declarant is sometimes referred to as an affiant if the declarant's statement takes the form of a sworn affidavit.

Under the Rule 801 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, a “declarant” is a person who makes a statement.  That statement need not be written.  The declarant must be a human; a computer is not a “person” and thus cannot be a declarant. Who is and who is not a declarant is a particularly important distinction because evidence at trial may be inadmissible as hearsay based on this distinction. For example, the court in Gayle v. State found that a report that contained text messages between the defendant and another person was not hearsay because the report was generated by a machine and thus not a “statement” made by a “declarant.”

 [Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]