3rd party hearsay in public documents

In a cautionary tale, Prof. Colin Miller, If You Were In The Public Eye: Kentucky Court Finds That Third Party Statements Were Properly Excluded From A Public Report, EvidenceProf Blog, 24 February 2009.

Professor Miller draws attention to a Kentucky case which has relevance to Mil. R. Evid. 803(4), the public records exception, and potentially Mil. R. Evid. 803(6), (8).

When you have hearsay within hearsay offered as an exception to hearsay, that "evidence" must be independently admissible.  Thus a police report containing a witness's description of an event is still hearsay and must meet the hearsay rule.  If the third party statements aren't independently admissible, then they must be redacted.

The Public Record/Report exception
provides an exception to the rule against hearsay because it is
generally expected that employees of a public agency will accurately
and reliably record things in public records and reports.  But there is
no expectation that a private citizen making statements to such an
employee will be accurate/reliable, which is why such third party
statements are not admissible under the exception.


tip:  Prof. Miller.

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