hearsay rule

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Hearsay rule is the rule prohibiting hearsay (out of court statements offered as proof of that statement) from being admitted as evidence because of the inability of the other party to cross-examine the maker of the statement.  

There are a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule (including present-sense impression, excited utterances, declarations of present state of mind, dying and the business records exceptions), as well as things defined not to be hearsay (admission of a party-opponent, and prior statements of a witness).

In one of the cases, the court held that “for verbal or nonverbal conduct to fall within the definition of the hearsay rule as defined under the federal rules of evidence, it must be either an expressly assertive written or spoken utterance, or nonverbal conduct expressly intended to be an assertion.”

[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]