The rule against hearsay: Text
• Hearsay is not admissible unless these rules or other law provides otherwise.
The rule against hearsay: Interpretations of the text
• Hearsay evidence is inadmissible pursuant to Evidence Rule 802 unless it fits within a few well-delineated exceptions.
See Minor v. State, 36 N.E.3d 1065, 1070 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015), trans. denied(citing Teague v. State, 978 N.E.2d 1183, 1187 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012))(“Hearsay is inadmissible unless it falls under a hearsay exception.”)
See also Cole v. State, 970 N.E.2d 779, 781 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012)(citing Simmons v. State, 760 N.E.2d 1154, 1160 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002))(“Hearsay is not admissible unless it fits within an exception to the hearsay rule.”)
The rule against hearsay: Rationale
• The exclusion of hearsay is meant to prevent the introduction of unreliable evidence that cannot be tested through cross-examination.
• The principal reasons to exclude hearsay evidence . . . are that the out-of-court declarant is not under oath, is not subject to confrontation by the trier of fact, and is not subject to cross-examination by the accused.
• [T]he fundamental purpose of the hearsay rule [is] to preserve the right to cross examine the declarant.
• [H]earsay is excluded from judicial proceedings because “its admission defeats the criminal defendant's right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him.”
Hearsay within hearsay: Text
• Hearsay within hearsay is not excluded by the rule against hearsay if each part of the combined statements conforms with an exception to the rule.
Hearsay within hearsay: Interpretations of the text
• “If a statement involves hearsay within hearsay, also known as multiple hearsay or double hearsay, the statement may still be admitted if ‘each layer of hearsay’ qualifies ‘under an exception to the hearsay rule[.]’”
Minor v. State, 36 N.E.3d 1065, 1070 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015), trans. denied(quoting Teague v. State, 978 N.E.2d 1183, 1187 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012)(quoting Palacios v. State, 926 N.E.2d 1026, 1030 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010)))(alteration in the original)
See Hinesley v. State, 999 N.E.2d 975, 982 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013), reh’g denied, trans. denied(“If a statement involves hearsay within hearsay, also known as multiple hearsay or double hearsay, to be admissible, each part of the combined statements must conform with an exception to the hearsay rule.”)
E.g., Wilson v. State, 39 N.E.3d 705, 714 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015), trans. denied(“[W]e find the statement that Davis heard Ball say that Brown asked [Ball] to dispose of the weapon is a clear instance of double hearsay; as such, each layer of hearsay must qualify under an exception to the hearsay rule.”)
E.g., Mayberry v. State, 670 N.E.2d 1262, 1267 (Ind. 1996), reh’g denied(citations omitted)(“Williams's testimony that Maretto told him certain statements that Phillips told her would have been hearsay within hearsay. As such, each level of hearsay must qualify under an exception to the hearsay rule.”)
Hearsay within hearsay: Burden of the proponent
• It is the burden of the party seeking to introduce such a combined statement to show that each part falls within such an exception.
Discretion of the trial court
• “A trial court has broad discretion to admit or exclude evidence, including purported hearsay.”
See Cline v. State, 726 N.E.2d 1249, 1253 (Ind. 2000)(citing Taylor v. State, 587 N.E.2d 1293, 1302 (Ind. 1992), reh’g denied)(“A ruling on the admissibility of arguably hearsay statements is within the sound discretion of the trial court.”)
See also Townsend v. State, 33 N.E.3d 367, 370 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015), trans. denied(citing Blount v. State, 22 N.E.3d 559, 564 (Ind. 2014))(“The trial court's broad discretion extends to situations involving the admissibility of purported hearsay.”)
Residual hearsay exception
• [T]he Indiana Rules of Evidence do not have a counterpart to the residual hearsay exception found in Federal Rule of Evidence 807 and its counterparts in several other jurisdictions.