Rule 801. Definitions That Apply to This Article.

 (a)  Statement. ‘‘Statement’’ means a person’s oral assertion, written assertion, or nonverbal conduct, if the person intended it as an assertion.

 (b)  Declarant. ‘‘Declarant’’ means the person who made the statement.

 (c)  Hearsay. ‘‘Hearsay’’ means a statement that

   (1)  the declarant does not make while testifying at the current trial or hearing; and

   (2)  a party offers in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.

Comment

   Pa.R.E. 801(a), (b) and (c) are identical to F.R.E. 801(a), (b) and (c). The matters set out in F.R.E. 801(d)(1) (A Declarant-Witness’s Prior Statement) are covered in Pa.R.E. 803.1(1) and (2) and Pa.R.E. 613(c). The matters set out in F.R.E. 801(d)(2) (An Opposing Party’s Statement) are covered in Pa.R.E. 803(25).

   Communications that are not assertions are not hearsay. These would include questions, greetings, expressions of gratitude, exclamations, offers, instructions, warnings, etc.

   Pa.R.E. 801(c), which defines hearsay, is consistent with Pennsylvania law, although the Pennsylvania cases have usually defined hearsay as an ‘‘out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted’’ instead of the definition used Pa.R.E. 801(c). See Heddings v. Steele, 514 Pa. 569, 526 A.2d 349 (1987). The adoption of the language of the Federal Rule is not intended to change existing law.

   A statement is hearsay only if it is offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement. There are many situations in which evidence of a statement is offered for a purpose other than to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

   Sometimes a statement has direct legal significance, whether or not it is true. For example, one or more statements may constitute an offer, an acceptance, a promise, a guarantee, a notice, a representation, a misrepresentation, defamation, perjury, compliance with a contractual or statutory obligation, etc.

   More often, a statement, whether or not it is true, constitutes circumstantial evidence from which the trier of fact may infer, alone or in combination with other evidence, the existence or non-existence of a fact in issue. For example, a declarant’s statement may imply his or her particular state of mind, or it may imply that a particular state of mind ensued in the recipient. Evidence of a statement, particularly if it is proven untrue by other evidence, may imply the existence of a conspiracy, or fraud. Evidence of a statement made by a witness, if inconsistent with the witness’s testimony, may imply that the witness is an unreliable historian. Conversely, evidence of a statement made by a witness that is consistent with the witness’s testimony may imply the opposite. See Pa.R.E. 613(c).

   Official Note

   Adopted May 8, 1998, effective October 1, 1998; Comment revised March 29, 2001, effective April 1, 2001; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective March 18, 2013.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the March 29, 2001 revision of the Comment published with the Court’s Order at 31 Pa.B. 1995 (April 14, 2001).

   Final Report explaining the January 17, 2013 rescission and replacement published with the Court’s Order at 43 Pa.B. 651 (February 2, 2013).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 801 amended March 29, 2001, effective April 1, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 1993; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective in sixty days, 43 Pa.B. 620. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (308922) to (308923) and (276587).



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