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Hearsay From Square One: The Definition of Hearsay

This lesson deals with the definition of hearsay under the Federal Rules of Evidence. It is a self-contained exercise that requires no prior knowledge or reference to outside material. It can be used as preparation before the topic of hearsay has been reached in the classroom, or as review after hearsay has been covered in class.

The exercise contains expository text followed by questions and responses. Its topics include statements offered as circumstantial evidence of the declarant’s state of mind, utterances offered as legally operative language, and other utterances that are not hearsay under the definition set forth in Fed. R. Evid. 801 (c). The exercise uses a variety of examples to illustrate the concept of hearsay as a statement offered to prove its truth.

The questions and text used in this exercise are different from those in the exercise entitled The Concept of Hearsay, so both exercises can be used by the same student without duplication. If both exercises are used, the author recommends that the present exercise (Hearsay from Square One) be used first.

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