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Texas Rules of Evidence Rule 801

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

Rule 801. Definitions That Apply to This Article; Exclusions from Hearsay

(a) Statement. “Statement” means a person’s oral or written verbal expression, or nonverbal conduct that a person intended as a substitute for verbal expression. (b) Declarant. “Declarant” means the person who made the statement. (c) Matter Asserted. “Matter asserted” means: (1) any matter a declarant explicitly asserts; and (2) any matter implied by a statement, if the probative value of the statement as offered flows from the declarant’s belief about the matter.

(d) Hearsay. “Hearsay” means a statement that: (1) the declarant does not make while testifying at the current trial or hearing; and (2) a party offers in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.

(e) Statements That Are Not Hearsay. A statement that meets the following conditions is not hearsay: (1) A Declarant-Witness’s Prior Statement. The declarant testifies and is subject to cross-examination about a prior statement, and the statement: (A) is inconsistent with the declarant’s testimony and: (i) when offered in a civil case, was given under penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding or in a deposition; or (ii) when offered in a criminal case, was given under penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding—except a grand jury proceeding—or in a deposition;

(B) is consistent with the declarant’s testimony and is offered to rebut an express or implied charge that the declarant recently fabricated it or acted from a recent improper influence or motive in so testifying; or (C) identifies a person as someone the declarant perceived earlier. (2) An Opposing Party’s Statement. The statement is offered against an opposing party and: (A) was made by the party in an individual or representative capacity; (B) is one the party manifested that it adopted or believed to be true; (C) was made by a person whom the party authorized to make a statement on the subject; (D) was made by the party’s agent or employee on a matter within the scope of that relationship and while it existed; or (E) was made by the party’s coconspirator during and in furtherance of the conspiracy. (3) A Deponent’s Statement. In a civil case, the statement was made in a deposition taken in the same proceeding. “Same proceeding” is defined in Rule of Civil Procedure 203.6(b). The deponent’s unavailability as a witnessis not a requirement for admissibility.

Notes and Comments

Comment to 2015 Restyling: Statements falling under the hearsay exclusion provided by Rule 801(e)(2) are no longer referred to as “admissions” in the title to the subdivision. The term “admissions” is confusing because not all statements covered by the exclusion are admissions in the colloquial sense—a statement can be within the exclusion even if it “admitted” nothing and was not against the party’s interest when made. The term “admissions” also raises confusion in comparison with the Rule 803(24) exception for declarations against interest. No change in application of the exclusion is intended. The deletion of former Rule 801(e)(1)(D), which cross-references Code of Criminal Procedure art. 38.071, is not intended as a substantive change. Including this cross-reference made sense when the Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence were first promulgated, but with subsequent changes to the statutory provision, its inclusion is no longer appropriate. The version of article 38.071 that was initially cross-referenced in the Rules of Criminal Evidence required the declarant-victim to be available to testify at the trial. That requirement has since been deleted from the statute, and the statute no longer requires either the availability or testimony of the declarant-victim. Thus, cross- referencing the statute in Rule 801(e)(1), which applies only when the declarant testifies at trial about the prior statement, no longer makes sense. Moreover, article 38.071 is but one of a number of statutes that mandate the admission of certain hearsay statements in particular circumstances. See, e.g., Code of Criminal Procedure art. 38.072; Family Code §§ 54.031, 104.002, 104.006. These statutory provisions take precedence over the general rule excluding hearsay, see Rules 101(c) and 802, and there is no apparent justification for cross-referencing article 38.071 and not all other such provisions.

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