Mastering the Tennessee Rules of Evidence is one of the most crucial requirements of becoming a successful criminal trial attorney. Hearsay is one of the most difficult rules to grasp. The definition of hearsay is it is a statement , other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Tennessee’s hearsay rule is riddled with exceptions.One interesting rule of evidence I am dealing with now is an exception to the hearsay rule.
Conspirators’ admissions are usually an exception to the hearsay rule. The reason for the hearsay exception is that each conspirator is bound by the actions and statements made by the other conspirators. For example , one co-defendant states ‘me and dude went to go shoot another dude" that statement comes into evidence. The question of the admissibility of the statement is did the statement occur during the course of the conspiracy. It must have occurred during the course of the conspiracy to be admissible.
So the evidence tip of the day to exclude co-defendant statements is to investigate when the statement is made. Statement made during the course of the conspiracy it is admitted.Statement made after the conspiracy ended. Excluded.
Statements of the accused or the co-defendants often come back to haunt the person at trial. Remember " silence is golden , handcuffs are silver".