G.S. 8C-804(b)(2). An explanation offered under this rule is commonly referred to as a “declaration of death.” If the applicant is not available as a witness under Rule 804(a) and the applicant`s statement meets the two admissibility criteria discussed below, the statement is not excluded from hearsay by the rules. The exception is listed in section 804(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, so that to be admissible under Rule 804(b)(2), the applicant`s statements must also relate to the “cause or circumstances” of what he considered to be his imminent death. G.S. 8C-804(b)(2). Testimony that meets this requirement may include, for example, identifying the perpetrator or other witnesses present, describing the nature of the breach, or explaining when, where and why the triggering event occurred. See, for example, Staat v. Bodden, 190 N.C. App. 505 (2008) (the explainer identified the person who shot him and told the officer that “he was shot outside in the parking lot”); State v. Calhoun, 189 N.C. App.
166 (2008) (Emergency services found a gunshot victim lying on the ground and the victim identified the two shooters before dying); State v Penley, 318 N.C. 30 (1986) (the explanatory identified the defendant as an aggressor); State v Stevens, 295 N.C. 21 (1978) (one severely burned and dying victim explained that his roommate gas and set him on fire in retaliation for a dispute over sex and money, and nodded to answer yes or no questions in a follow-up interview when he could no longer speak). The admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings was governed by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which effectively replaced the common law regime and abolished all common law hearsay exceptions (with the exception of those in section 118), including the declaration of death exception. An original statement by a deceased person may now be admissible under the legal exception for “unavailability” (ss. 114 and 116), subject to the judicial discretion of the courts (preserved by section 126) to exclude unreliable evidence (i.e., the adverse value outweighs the probative value). Cases in North Carolina that maintain this historic exemption from confrontational requirements are supported by the fact that the Crawford decision itself stated that death declarations could be an exception to the Sixth Amendment. See Crawford v.
Washington, 541 USA 36, n.6 (2004) (“Although many dying explanations may not be testimonies, there is the power to admit even those that are unambiguous. We do not need to decide in this case whether the Sixth Amendment contains an exception for testimony. If this exception is to be accepted for historical reasons, it is sui generis. “) (internal citations omitted); Ohio v. Clark, 576 U.S. 237 (2015) (J. Scalia and Ginsburg agree) (citing Crawford and pointing out that prosecutors can overcome contentious requests if they rely on “a long-established practice of introducing certain types of evidence, such as explanations of death … for which cross-examination was generally not necessary”). Hearsay, which is considered evidence, is generally not admissible in criminal court because it is evidence that has been heard second-hand and is therefore considered less reliable. However, there are exceptions to the rule that prohibits the admission of hearsay evidence. These exceptions allow certain forms of second-hand or hearsay testimony in criminal proceedings. An exception is called an exception for the dye declaration.
It could happen, for example, to imagine a victim who is kidnapped and led to believe that he will soon be killed. The victim writes a farewell note describing what happened and who did it to them. Fortunately, law enforcement officials are already aware of the crime and are on their way to saving it. So she was never really in great danger, and she never died. Unfortunately, the victim is too frightened and traumatized by the experience to testify in court, so she is not available as a witness under Rule 804(a). In these circumstances, and applying the rule as set out in cases such as Sharpe and Penley, the applicant`s letter should be considered admissible as a declaration of death under Rule 804(b)(2).