A dying declaration is a statement made by a declarant, who is unavailable to testify in court (typically because of the declarant's death), who made the statement under a belief of certain or impending death. The statement must also relate to what the declarant believed to be the cause or circumstances of the declarant's impending death.
An out-of-court statement is referred to as hearsay. A dying declaration is a type of hearsay. However, unlike regular hearsay, a dying declaration is admissible in court. As such, a dying declaration is as an exception to the hearsay rule.
Other general rules of admissibility also apply, such as the requirement that the declaration must be based on the declarant's actual knowledge.
Federal Rules of Evidence
For more on dying declarations, see:
- this Indiana University Law Review article: Her Last Words: Dying Declarations and Modern Confrontation Jurisprudence (Orenstein),
- this Florida State University Law Review article: The Confrontation Clause and the Hearsay Rule (Brown), and
- this Florida State University Law Review article: The Federal Rules of Evidence and Florida Evidence Law Compared (Miller) .