When given to establish that their contents are accurate, statements in the form of letters, affidavits, declarations, diaries, memoranda, oral remarks, notes, computer files, legal papers, purchase receipts, and contracts all constitute hearsay. Hearsay evidence is testimony about a statement made by someone other than the witness who is giving the testimony. Testimony about a statement made by another person at an earlier date is not hearsay if the declarant is available for cross-examination at trial and the statement relates to a matter within the scope of the declarant's observation or experience.
Generally speaking, any out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted is hearsay. However, this does not include statements used to show information reported by an unreliable source, such as an eye-witness to a crime, a victim or survivor of sexual assault, or a child victim of abuse. The exception for statements not intended for use as evidence arises where there is a need for certain kinds of information that only persons having first-hand knowledge can provide. For example, doctors may rely on nurses' observations when making diagnoses or treating patients. Teachers may ask students questions about their experiences in order to help them improve their teaching skills. Police officers are permitted to rely on information provided by witnesses during investigations or proceedings.
Federal Evidence Rules The Federal Rules of Evidence (See Article VIII) define hearsay as "a statement given in evidence to support the truth of the matter alleged, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing." Hearsay is not admissible unless it falls under an exception to the rule.
Rule 801 of the Federal Rules of Evidence states: "Hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted." Therefore, hearsay is testimony about a statement, other than one made by the witness while on the stand, designed to show that what was said was true. Hearsay evidence is not only inadmissible but also prejudicial because it allows the jury to consider evidence without subjecting it to cross-examination.
Rule 802 provides that hearsay evidence is inadmissible except as provided by the rules or by law. Rule 803 lists several exceptions to the exclusion of hearsay evidence, including statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment. Statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment are not excluded by the hearsay rule because they are considered reliable since they have a good chance of being true. Such statements include those describing symptoms or conditions that could be caused by someone's injury or disease and those giving medical opinions regarding causation.
Hearsay is defined as Hearsay is defined as a remark made outside of court to show the veracity of the subject expressed. These out-of-court utterances do not have to be spoken words; they can be be papers or body language. For example, if I show someone my ID card, that's hearsay evidence of who I am.
Heck, even looking at me can be hearsay if you report what was said later. For example, if I tell you that Joe's attorney is awesome, then you've heard this out-of-court statement and it's hearsay evidence that tells us about Joe's attorney.
Hearsay evidence is not admissible in court because these statements cannot be tested for credibility or reliability. The only way to know how trustworthy these out-of-court speakers are is to ask them in person or read their affidavits/testimony under oath.
In conclusion, hearsay is any evidence that comes from another source other than the witness' own knowledge.