CONSPIRACY: PROSECUTION MADE EASIER*

INADMISSIBLE HEARSAY

The Federal Rules of Evidence are meant to assure the testimony and exhibits a judge admits into evidence in a case are reliable, that the evidence is authentic and the attorneys can fairly and legitimately test its veracity and accuracy.

ONE CONSPIRATOR’S SELF-INCRIMINATING STATEMENT CAN BE USED AGAINST ALL CO-CONSPIRATORS

As mentioned above, conspiracy opens up a critical evidentiary rule that is not otherwise available in non-conspiracy cases. Under the Rules of Evidence, some out-of-court statements being offered for the truth of what the statement asserts are not considered hearsay and can come into evidence. For example, what if the prosecutor wants to introduce an incriminating out-of-court statement made by a “declarant” who is the person on trial for a crime? What if that person, now the defendant, told his brother something incriminating about himself, say that he carries around a baseball bat in the back of his pick-up in case some “motherf#%ker f#%ks” with him? Can the prosecutor put the brother on the witness stand and elicit that statement as relevant evidence? Yes. The Rules of Evidence consider as reliable a prior statement made by someone who is now a party to the case if the statement was adverse to or against his own interests. Courts believe that people do not say bad things about themselves unless they are true. So, those out-of-court statements by the defendant/declarant are carved out of the definition of hearsay and are admissible in evidence so long as they are otherwise relevant.

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