Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The Rules of Evidence apply to a family law matter despite some people's assertion to the contrary.  The biggest thing is hearsay.  “‘Hearsay’ is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” Miss. R. Evid. 801(c).  Easiest way to explain this generally is as someone once put it "Don't tell me what someone else said, if you want me to believe it is true."  That being said, statements are often used for other purposes such as merely showing a party is on notice or merely that a statement is said.

"If the significance of a statement is simply that it was made and there is no issue about the truth of the matter asserted, then the statement is not hearsay.” Harris v. State, 970 So. 2d 151, 155 (¶ 12) (Miss. 2007) (quoting Mickel v. State, 602 So. 2d 1160, 1162 (Miss. 1992)). See Brown v. State, 969 So. 2d 855, 861 (¶ 16) (Miss. 2007) (“[A]n out-of-court statement is not hearsay unless the party offering the statement is attempting to prove that the statement is true.”

This area is incredibly complex and you can have a statement admissible for one purpose and not another depending on what it is being offered which often creates confusion. 

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