Rule 803.1. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay—Testimony of Declarant Necessary.

 The following statements are not excluded by the rule against hearsay if the declarant testifies and is subject to cross-examination about the prior statement:

Comment

   A witness must be subject to cross-examination regarding the prior statement. See Commonwealth v. Romero, 722 A.2d 1014, 1017-1018 (Pa. 1999) (witness was not available for cross-examination when witness refused to answer questions about prior statement).

   (1)  Prior Inconsistent Statement of Declarant-Witness. A prior statement by a declarant-witness that is inconsistent with the declarant-witness’s testimony and:

       (A)   was given under oath subject to the penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, or in a deposition;

       (B)   is a writing signed and adopted by the declarant; or

       (C)   is a verbatim contemporaneous electronic recording of an oral statement.

Comment

   The Federal Rules treat statements corresponding to Pa.R.E. 803.1(1) and (2) as ‘‘not hearsay’’ and places them in F.R.E. 801(d)(1)(A) and (C). Pennsylvania follows the traditional approach that treats these statements as exceptions to the hearsay rule if the declarant testifies at the trial.

   Pa.R.E. 803.1(1) is consistent with prior Pennsylvania case law. See Commonwealth v. Brady, 507 A.2d 66 (Pa. 1986) (seminal case that overruled close to two centuries of decisional law in Pennsylvania and held that the recorded statement of a witness to a murder, inconsistent with her testimony at trial, was properly admitted as substantive evidence, excepted to the hearsay rule); Commonwealth v. Lively, 610 A.2d 7 (Pa. 1992). In Commonwealth v. Wilson, 707 A.2d 1114 (Pa. 1998), the Supreme Court held that to be admissible under this rule an oral statement must be a verbatim contemporaneous recording in electronic, audiotaped, or videotaped form.

   An inconsistent statement of a witness that does not qualify as an exception to the hearsay rule may still be introduced to impeach the credibility of the witness. See Pa.R.E. 613.

   (2)  Prior Statement of Identification by Declarant-Witness. A prior statement by a declarant-witness identifying a person or thing, made after perceiving the person or thing, provided that the declarant-witness testifies to the making of the prior statement.

Comment

   Pennsylvania treats a statement meeting the requirements of Pa.R.E. 803.1(2) as an exception to the hearsay rule. F.R.E. 801(d)(1)(C) provides that such a statement is not hearsay. This differing organization is consistent with Pennsylvania law.

   Pa.R.E. 803.1(2) differs from F.R.E. 801(d)(1)(C) in several respects. It requires the witness to testify to making the identification. This is consistent with Pennsylvania law. See Commonwealth v. Ly, 599 A.2d 613 (Pa. 1991). The Pennsylvania rule includes identification of a thing, in addition to a person.

   (3)  Recorded Recollection of Declarant-Witness. A memorandum or record made or adopted by a declarant-witness that:

       (A)   is on a matter the declarant-witness once knew about but now cannot recall well enough to testify fully and accurately;

       (B)   was made or adopted by the declarant-witness when the matter was fresh in his or her memory; and

       (C)   the declarant-witness testifies accurately reflects his or her knowledge at the time when made.

 If admitted, the memorandum or record may be read into evidence and received as an exhibit, but may be shown to the jury only in exceptional circumstances or when offered by an adverse party.

Comment

   Pa.R.E. 803.1(3) is similar to F.R.E. 803(5), but differs in the following ways:

   1. Pennsylvania treats a statement meeting the requirements of Pa.R.E. 803.1(3) as an exception to the hearsay rule in which the testimony of the declarant is necessary. F.R.E. 803(5) treats this as an exception regardless of the availability of the declarant. This differing organization is consistent with Pennsylvania law.

   2. Pa.R.E. 803.1(3)(C) makes clear that, to qualify a recorded recollection as an exception to the hearsay rule, the witness must testify that the memorandum or record correctly reflects the knowledge that the witness once had. In other words, the witness must vouch for the reliability of the record. The Federal Rule is ambiguous on this point and the applicable federal cases are conflicting.

   3. Pa.R.E. 803.1(3) allows the memorandum or record to be received as an exhibit, and grants the trial judge discretion to show it to the jury in exceptional circumstances, even when not offered by an adverse party.

   Pa.R.E. 803.1(3) is consistent with Pennsylvania law. See Commonwealth v. Cargo, 444 A.2d 639 (Pa. 1982).

   (4)  Prior Statement by a Declarant-Witness Who Claims an Inability to Remember the Subject Matter of the Statement. A prior statement by a declarant-witness who testifies to an inability to remember the subject matter of the statement, unless the court finds the claimed inability to remember to be credible, and the statement:

       (A)   was given under oath subject to the penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, or in a deposition;

       (B)   is a writing signed and adopted by the declarant; or

       (C)   is a verbatim contemporaneous electronic recording of an oral statement.

Comment

   Pa.R.E. 803.1(4) has no counterpart in the Federal Rules of Evidence. The purpose of this hearsay exception is to protect against the ‘‘turncoat witness’’ who once provided a statement, but now seeks to deprive the use of this evidence at trial. It is intended to permit the admission of a prior statement given under demonstrably reliable and trustworthy circumstances, see, e.g., Commonwealth v. Hanible, 30 A.3d 426, 445 n. 15 (Pa. 2011), when the declarant-witness feigns memory loss about the subject matter of the statement.

   A prior statement made by a declarant-witness having credible memory loss about the subject matter of the statement, but able to testify that the statement accurately reflects his or her knowledge at the time it was made, may be admissible under Pa.R.E. 803.1(3). Otherwise, when a declarant-witness has a credible memory loss about the subject matter of the statement, see Pa.R.E. 804(a)(3).

   Official Note

   Adopted May 8, 1998, effective October 1, 1998; amended March 10, 2000, effective July 1, 2000; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective March 18, 2013; amended March 1, 2017, effective April 1, 2017.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the amendment to paragraph (1) and the updates to the Comment to paragraph (1) published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1646 (March 25, 2000).

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

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2107 revision of the Comment and addition of paragraph (4) published with the Court’s Order at 47 Pa.B. 1627 (March 18, 2017).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 803.1 amended March 10, 2000, effective immediately, 30 Pa.B. 1639; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective in sixty days, 43 Pa.B. 620; amended March 1, 2017, effective April 1, 2017, 47 Pa.B. 1623. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (384746).



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