And let me add,
“And, if gets to closed primer on hearsay, 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 … and it’s certainly valid in this instance.”
—-Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), making an ass of himself, misinforming the public, but nicely illustrating the lack of integrity and honesty at the heart of the current Democratic impeachment inquiry.
And how proud Loyola Law School must be to have graduated this idiot!
The Honorable Rep. is trying, I assume, to slide by the fact that much of the testimony being presented against the President is hearsay, which means, “not valid evidence.” There is a good reason for that: when what someone else says is repeated by another party as evidence of the proof of the statement’s truth, it obviously cannot be given much weight. For one thing, the actual speaker cannot be cross-examined, making the admission of such a statement as evidence reversible error. A witness can testify to what he or she heard someone else say, but that’s not hearsay. The testimony is good evidence that the statement was made, just not that the speaker was necessarily telling the truth.
However, nobody, and no legal authority, rationally believes that “hearsay can be much better evidence than direct.” The statement is ridiculous on its face. It literally means that it is better to have someone who heard a statement testify that the statement was true rather than have the individual who made the statement.
Nor do courts “routinely” create exceptions to the rule against hearsay. The exceptions are old and well-established, and have not changed or had additions in many decades.
Here is the list from the Federal Rules of Evidence:
Rule 803 – Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay
The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness:
(1) Present Sense Impression. A statement describing or explaining an event or condition, made while or immediately after the declarant perceived it.
(2) Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.
(3) Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition. A statement of the declarant’s then-existing state of mind (such as motive, intent, or plan) or emotional, sensory, or physical condition (such as mental feeling, pain, or bodily health), but not including a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the validity or terms of the declarant’s will.
(4) Statement Made for Medical Diagnosis or Treatment. A statement that: (A) is made for — and is reasonably pertinent to — medical diagnosis or treatment; and (B) describes medical history; past or present symptoms or sensations; their inception; or their general cause.
(5) Recorded Recollection. A record that: (A) is on a matter the witness once knew about but now cannot recall well enough to testify fully and accurately;(B) was made or adopted by the witness when the matter was fresh in the witness’s memory; and (C) accurately reflects the witness’s knowledge. If admitted, the record may be read into evidence but may be received as an exhibit only if offered by an adverse party.
(6) Records of a Regularly Conducted Activity. A record of an act, event, condition, opinion, or diagnosis if: (A) the record was made at or near the time by — or from information transmitted by — someone with knowledge; (B) the record was kept in the course of a regularly conducted activity of a business, organization, occupation, or calling, whether or not for profit; (C) making the record was a regular practice of that activity; (D) all these conditions are shown by the testimony of the custodian or another qualified witness, or by a certification that complies with Rule 902(11) or (12) or with a statute permitting certification; and (E) the opponent does not show that the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate a lack of trustworthiness.
(7) Absence of a Record of a Regularly Conducted Activity. Evidence that a matter is not included in a record described in paragraph (6) if: (A) the evidence is admitted to prove that the matter did not occur or exist; (B) a record was regularly kept for a matter of that kind; and (C) the opponent does not show that the possible source of the information or other circumstances indicate a lack of trustworthiness.
(8) Public Records. A record or statement of a public office if: (A) it sets out: (i) the office’s activities; (ii) a matter observed while under a legal duty to report, but not including, in a criminal case, a matter observed by law-enforcement personnel; or (iii) in a civil case or against the government in a criminal case, factual findings from a legally authorized investigation; and (B) the opponent does not show that the source of information or other circumstances indicate a lack of trustworthiness.
(9) Public Records of Vital Statistics. A record of a birth, death, or marriage, if reported to a public office in accordance with a legal duty.
(10) Absence of a Public Record. Testimony — or a certification under Rule 902 — that a diligent search failed to disclose a public record or statement if: (A) the testimony or certification is admitted to prove that (i) the record or statement does not exist; or (ii) a matter did not occur or exist, if a public office regularly kept a record or statement for a matter of that kind; and (B) in a criminal case, a prosecutor who intends to offer a certification provides written notice of that intent at least 14 days before trial, and the defendant does not object in writing within 7 days of receiving the notice — unless the court sets a different time for the notice or the objection.
(11) Records of Religious Organizations Concerning Personal or Family History. A statement of birth, legitimacy, ancestry, marriage, divorce, death, relationship by blood or marriage, or similar facts of personal or family history, contained in a regularly kept record of a religious organization.
(12) Certificates of Marriage, Baptism, and Similar Ceremonies. A statement of fact contained in a certificate: (A) made by a person who is authorized by a religious organization or by law to perform the act certified; (B) attesting that the person performed a marriage or similar ceremony or administered a sacrament; and (C) purporting to have been issued at the time of the act or within a reasonable time after it.
(13) Family Records. A statement of fact about personal or family history contained in a family record, such as a Bible, genealogy, chart, engraving on a ring, inscription on a portrait, or engraving on an urn or burial marker.
(14) Records of Documents That Affect an Interest in Property. The record of a document that purports to establish or affect an interest in property if: (A) the record is admitted to prove the content of the original recorded document, along with its signing and its delivery by each person who purports to have signed it; (B) the record is kept in a public office; and (C) a statute authorizes recording documents of that kind in that office.
(15) Statements in Documents That Affect an Interest in Property. A statement contained in a document that purports to establish or affect an interest in property if the matter stated was relevant to the document’s purpose — unless later dealings with the property are inconsistent with the truth of the statement or the purport of the document.
(16) Statements in Ancient Documents. A statement in a document that was prepared before January 1, 1998 and whose authenticity is established.
(17) Market Reports and Similar Commercial Publications. Market quotations, lists, directories, or other compilations that are generally relied on by the public or by persons in particular occupations.
(18) Statements in Learned Treatises, Periodicals, or Pamphlets. A statement contained in a treatise, periodical, or pamphlet if: (A) the statement is called to the attention of an expert witness on cross-examination or relied on by the expert on direct examination; and (B) the publication is established as a reliable authority by the expert’s admission or testimony, by another expert’s testimony, or by judicial notice.
If admitted, the statement may be read into evidence but not received as an exhibit.
(19) Reputation Concerning Personal or Family History. A reputation among a person’s family by blood, adoption, or marriage — or among a person’s associates or in the community — concerning the person’s birth, adoption, legitimacy, ancestry, marriage, divorce, death, relationship by blood, adoption, or marriage, or similar facts of personal or family history.
(20) Reputation Concerning Boundaries or General History. A reputation in a community — arising before the controversy — concerning boundaries of land in the community or customs that affect the land, or concerning general historical events important to that community, state, or nation.
(21) Reputation Concerning Character. A reputation among a person’s associates or in the community concerning the person’s character.
(22) Judgment of a Previous Conviction. Evidence of a final judgment of conviction if:(A) the judgment was entered after a trial or guilty plea, but not a nolo contendere plea; (B) the conviction was for a crime punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than a year; (C) the evidence is admitted to prove any fact essential to the judgment; and (D) when offered by the prosecutor in a criminal case for a purpose other than impeachment, the judgment was against the defendant.
The pendency of an appeal may be shown but does not affect admissibility.
(23) Judgments Involving Personal, Family, or General History, or a Boundary. A judgment that is admitted to prove a matter of personal, family, or general history, or boundaries, if the matter:(A) was essential to the judgment; and (B) could be proved by evidence of reputation.
Now these, covering the situation where the original speaker can’t testify—which doesn’t mean that the direct testimony wouldn’t still be preferable:
Rule 804 – Hearsay Exceptions; Declarant Unavailable
a) Criteria for Being Unavailable. A declarant is considered to be unavailable as a witness if the declarant:
(1) is exempted from testifying about the subject matter of the declarant’s statement because the court rules that a privilege applies;
(2) refuses to testify about the subject matter despite a court order to do so;
(3) testifies to not remembering the subject matter;
(4) cannot be present or testify at the trial or hearing because of death or a then-existing infirmity, physical illness, or mental illness; or
(5) is absent from the trial or hearing and the statement’s proponent has not been able, by process or other reasonable means, to procure:
(B) the declarant’s attendance, in the case of a hearsay exception under Rule 804(b)(1) or (6); or
(C) the declarant’s attendance or testimony, in the case of a hearsay exception under Rule 804(b)(2), (3), or (4). But this subdivision (a) does not apply if the statement’s proponent procured or wrongfully caused the declarant’s unavailability as a witness in order to prevent the declarant from attending or testifying.
(b) The Exceptions. The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay if the declarant is unavailable as a witness:
(1) Former Testimony. Testimony that: (A) was given as a witness at a trial, hearing, or lawful deposition, whether given during the current proceeding or a different one; and(B) is now offered against a party who had — or, in a civil case, whose predecessor in interest had — an opportunity and similar motive to develop it by direct, cross-, or redirect examination.
(2) Statement Under the Belief of Imminent Death. In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil case, a statement that the declarant, while believing the declarant’s death to be imminent, made about its cause or circumstances.
(3) Statement Against Interest. A statement that: (A) a reasonable person in the declarant’s position would have made only if the person believed it to be true because, when made, it was so contrary to the declarant’s proprietary or pecuniary interest or had so great a tendency to invalidate the declarant’s claim against someone else or to expose the declarant to civil or criminal liability; and (B) is supported by corroborating circumstances that clearly indicate its trustworthiness, if it is offered in a criminal case as one that tends to expose the declarant to criminal liability.
(4) Statement of Personal or Family History. A statement about: (A) the declarant’s own birth, adoption, legitimacy, ancestry, marriage, divorce, relationship by blood, adoption, or marriage, or similar facts of personal or family history, even though the declarant had no way of acquiring personal knowledge about that fact; or (B) another person concerning any of these facts, as well as death, if the declarant was related to the person by blood, adoption, or marriage or was so intimately associated with the person’s family that the declarant’s information is likely to be accurate.
(5) [Other Exceptions .][Transferred to Rule 807:
(a) In General. Under the following circumstances, a hearsay statement is not excluded by the rule against hearsay even if the statement is not specifically covered by a hearsay exception in Rule 803 or 804:
(1) the statement has equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness;
(2) it is offered as evidence of a material fact;
(3) it is more probative on the point for which it is offered than any other evidence that the proponent can obtain through reasonable efforts; and
(4) admitting it will best serve the purposes of these rules and the interests of justice.
(b) Notice. The statement is admissible only if, before the trial or hearing, the proponent gives an adverse party reasonable notice of the intent to offer the statement and its particulars, including the declarant’s name and address, so that the party has a fair opportunity to meet it.
(6) Statement Offered Against a Party That Wrongfully Caused the Declarant’s Unavailability. A statement offered against a party that wrongfully caused — or acquiesced in wrongfully causing — the declarant’s unavailability as a witness, and did so intending that result.
Anyone who reads these exceptions to the hearsay rule will rapidly discern that most of them are exceptions because they aren’t really hearsay. The dubious testimony Quigley was trying to bolster, however did not match any of these exceptions. Almost all of the testimony by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor was based accounts other individuals shared with them. That’s inadmissible hearsay, and obviously it would be better to have the direct testimony of these individuals than that of someone saying what they said.
It would be unfair to use the dishonest, incompetent, misleading statement of a single House Democrat to conclude, as conservative pundit Matt Margolis wrote,
Can you imagine? Democrats are so determined to impeach Trump they are willing to suggest that hearsay is better than direct evidence. It’s not surprising however, that a Democrat would make such a statement, especially after the Kavanaugh hearings, when Democrats were so desperate for dirt, even the most farcical allegations made against the now-Supreme Court Justice were treated as serious allegations and uncorroborated testimony by an accuser whose own witnesses denied her story was accepted as fact.
Democrats have previously shown there is no low they won’t stoop to in order to save a Supreme Court seat. When they are arguing that hearsay is more valid than actual evidence in the impeachment of a president, it’s clear they are willing to return to those shameful depths without blinking an eye.
This is one incompetent, lying fool, not “Democrats.”
On the other hand, while I’m sure many of Quigley’s colleagues were thinking, “Oh, god, shut up, Mike!,” none had the integrity to correct him.