Declarations Against Penal Interest
Declarations made that are against the penal interests of the declarant may be admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule where the court is satisfied that certain conditions have been met.
The statement made by the declarant must criminally or otherwise legally incriminate the declarant, who is unavailable to attend trial due to death, illness or being outside of the jurisdiction at the time of trial. The statement must have been made in a situation where the declarant should have recognized the penal consequences associated with making the statement. The statement, in its entirety, must be against the interests of the accused. Finally, the declarant must have personal knowledge about the subject matter of the statement they have made.
While talking to person A, person B admits to committing a murder. Person B is well aware that they will be arrested and charged with murder if this statement reaches law enforcement. Person B has personal knowledge of the murder because he is the one who committed it. Person B’s statement to person A will be admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule.