Declarations in the Course of Duty
Declarations made in the course of duty is an exception to the hearsay rule that permits the introduction of evidence of declarations made in the course of regular duty. This exception commonly allows business records to be admitted as evidence. Before such a declaration can be admitted as evidence, the court must be satisfied that certain conditions have been met.
The individual who made the declaration must be deceased or otherwise permanently unavailable at the time the declaration is to be introduced into evidence. The declaration must have been very close in time to the event it is reporting. This means that if an individual is making a record of an incident in the course of their regular business duties, they must make the declaration immediately after the event which they are recording.
This ensures that the declaration depicts the event it is describing as accurately as possible. The declaration must discuss an event that happened to the declarant. The declarant cannot make a statement about something they were told, or something they learned from a third party. Finally, the declaration must have been made in the regular course of duty.
Person A is a police officer who is required to fill out various reports relating to the traffic stops they conduct as part of their regular duties. Person A pulls over person B and subsequently fills out the necessary paperwork. Person A later dies and is unable to testify at trial in person B’s case. Person A’s reports may be introduced as evidence under this exception to the hearsay rule because the reports were made in the regular course of duty, by the individual who pulled over the accused, the officer is now deceased, and the notes were made immediately after pulling over person B.