What are your chances of being convicted on conspiracy to murder based on hearsay?

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What are your chances of being convicted on conspiracy to murder based on hearsay?

A person attempts to rob someone and kills them during the action. He gets away but is later apprehended and feels that you informed on him. He decides to say that you planned the robbery with him.

Asked on April 1, 2011 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, this is not hearsay. Hearsay is when someone quotes your language or repeats something you said, and that is generally not allowed in court (though there are a number of exceptions); instead, the expectation is that you will be put on the stand to testify about what you said. But when one alleged or convicted criminal says that another planned or participated in the robbery with him, except when he is quoting your (more or less exact words), it's not hearsay--it's just witness testimony. For example:

"What did John Doe say to you about the robbery" is hearsay.

"Was there anyone who helped you plan the robbery? Yes. Who? John Doe." is not hearsay, since the witness is testifying to facts as he recalls them, not your words.

And as to whether you can be convicted on another witness's or participant's testimony--yes, if the jury finds it convincing beyond a reasonable doubt. You, of course, have the opportunty to attack his testimimony, testify yourself, and present any witnesses and evidence in your favor.

 


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