The following news analysis contains material from Jim Kouri's 2003 book, "Assume the Position: Police Science for Screenwriters, Authors and Journalists."
During last week’s House Intelligence Committee public testimony from witnesses called by the committee’s Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, those who watched the televised proceedings heard Democratic lawmakers actually redefining legal definitions and procedures.
For example, arguably the biggest evidentiary debate of the week, came from Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, whose district includes the decrepit city of Chicago. To a number of law enforcement officers, Quigley is a perfect example of the shyster lawyers who dwell in The Swamp.
According to Republican lawmakers on Schiff’s witch-hunt panel, most of the evidence Democrats have presented or witnesses have provided has been hearsay, which is not admissible in either a criminal or civil court proceeding.
Therefore, in a court of law the Democrats case would be considered based largely on hearsay evidence which would not be allowed.
In Congress, however, there now appears to be a different measurable when it comes to hearsay evidence.
According to Rep. Quigley, “Hearsay [testimony] can be much better evidence than direct [evidence]…”
“I think the American public needs to be reminded that countless people have been convicted on hearsay because the courts have routinely allowed and created needed exceptions to hearsay. Hearsay can be much better evidence than direct, as we have learned in painful instances and it’s certainly valid in this instance,” said Rep. Quigley.
Basically, Quigley is claiming, “We have no real evidence so now I have to convince you the lame evidence we have is good enough to push Trump out of office so Democrats can regain power.
In a nation that recognizes the importance of justice, the anti-Trump impeachment hearings would have been ended with the Democrats apologizing to Trump and his supporters. But instead, it will continue to go on for weeks — perhaps into the new year 2020 — then it will head to the Senate because Democrats couldn’t care less about presenting facts.
All the while, the American people are footing the bill for all of this.
The hearsay rule is a rule of evidence which prohibits admitting testimony or documents into evidence when the statements contained therein are offered to prove their truth and the maker of the statements is not able to testify about it in court.
Hearsay is “second-hand” information. Because the person who supposedly knew the facts is not in court to give testimony, the trier of fact cannot judge the demeanor and credibility of the alleged first-hand witness, and the other party’s lawyer cannot cross-examine him or her. Therefore, there is a constitutional due process danger that it deprives the other side of an opportunity to confront and cross-examine the “real” witness who originally saw or heard something.
However, there are numerous exceptions to the hearsay rule. Exceptions include:
- a statement by the opposing party in the lawsuit which is inconsistent with what he/she has said in court
- business entries made in the regular course of business, when a qualified witness can identify the records and tell how they were kept
- official government records which can be shown to be properly kept
- a writing about an event made close to the time it occurred, which may be used during trial to refresh a witness’s memory about the event
- a “learned treatise” (historical works, scientific books, published art works, maps and charts)
- judgments in other cases
- a spontaneous excited or startled utterance
- contemporaneous statement which explains the meaning of conduct if the conduct was ambiguous
- a statement which explains a person’s state of mind at the time of an event
- a statement which explains a person’s future intentions
- prior testimony under oath
- a declaration by the opposing party in the lawsuit which was contrary to his/her best interest if the party is not available at trial
- a dying declaration by a person believing he/she is dying
- a statement made about one’s mental set, feeling, pain or health, if the person is not available-most often applied if the declarant is dead
- a statement about one’s own will
- other exceptions based on a judge’s discretion that the hearsay testimony has surrounding circumstances indicating that it must be reliable.