Spontaneous Exclamation and Hearsay
04/01/17 Spontaneous Exclamation & Hearsay
A sudden statement (also known as an “excited utterance”) made by someone who has seen a surprising, startling, or shocking event (such as an accident or a death), or has suffered an injury. For example, “Oh my God, that blue car hit the little girl!” Spontaneous exclamations are often introduced at trial as evidence of the speaker’s state of mind or the truth of the matter being spoken about, and will be admitted if the judge decides that the circumstances surrounding the statement make it likely that the speaker was telling the truth. Without this determination, the statement is simply hearsay; that is, a statement made out of court and offered for the truth of the matter it deals with.
Testimony given by a witness who is not telling what he or she knows personally, but what others have said.