Matt Conigliaro is tired of hearing the claim that the testimony about Terri Schiavo’s saying that she wouldn’t want to be kept on life support are “hearsay,” and explains the rules of evidence involved.
Shorter version: If I tell you that Tom DeLay is a crook and you testify later about my words in court to show that Tom DeLay is in fact a crook, that’s hearsay, and excluded. But if you testify about my statement to show that I believed that Tom DeLay was a crook, or that I wanted Tom DeLay to be politically ruined, that’s perfectly good eyewitness testimony as to my words, which are evidence of my beliefs and intentions.
If the question is what Terri Schiavo wanted for herself, what better evidence could there be than what she said? Disbelieving the testimony is one thing. But the people calling it “hearsay” and expressing shock and horror about its admission are talking throgh their hats, either because they misunderstand the law of evidence or because they’re trying to deceive others.