It's something everybody says they know about, but few people understand. The court defines hearsay as an "out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted." What does that mean in plain language? It means that if you testify as to what someone else said, that other person must be available to testify as to what they said.
An example that is used all the time in divorce cases: if you testify about what your child told you about getting hit by your ex, your child will have to tell the judge about being hit. Why? Because you're not wanting the judge to believe you, you're wanting the judge to believe the child was hit. You're offering up a statement, made out of court, for the truth of that statement, i.e., the child was, in fact, hit. So, unless that child is available to testify to being hit, and to be asked questions by the other side, you won't be able to testify that your child was hit by your ex.
Hearsay - No Guarantees
The definition and example demonstrate that it's an easy, yet difficult concept to grasp. Why? Because there are a number of exceptions that allow someone to testify as to what someone else said, including a statement made against a person's interest, to show motive or bias, or to describe pain. But, not for the truth of the statement.
No one ever knows what a judge will allow in as hearsay - it's a real guessing game at times. So, if you want a statement to be heard by the judge to prove what that person said really happened, have that person there to testify. It's the only guarantee you have that the judge will hear the statement, and rely on that statement for the truth, i,e., the child was hit by your ex.
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