Tag Archives: Hearsay

ADMISSIBILITY OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL) REPORTS: How to overcome hearsay objections (20-01)

Almost every GAL report I have ever read included statements made by the parties as well as the child(ren). Sometimes those statements can be extremely prejudicial, especially those made by young children (many of whom are too young or otherwise unable to testify in court).

Statements such as: “I saw daddy hit mommy in the face” or “daddy touches my privates late at night” or “I get mad at mommy because she leaves me home alone” or “when mommy gets really mad she slaps my face and it hurts”.

Because those type of statements could form the basis for charging a party with a criminal offense, many defense attorneys will vehemently demand those statements be stricken from the report arguing that they constitute inadmissible hearsay.

Whether you are a prosecutor or a Guardian Ad Litem, how do you plan on responding to the hearsay objection? And if you are the presiding judge what legal analysis do you apply to reach a proper ruling?

The attached Training Update answers all those questions and also provides prosecutors and Guardians with a sample in-court script to follow.

Click here for a print ready copy of Update 2020-1

Please feel free to share this update with other prosecutors, guardians or judges that might benefit from it.


QUESTION: What legal analysis should the court apply when asked to rule on the admissibility of an out-of-court statement?

ANSWER: If you have ever read “Alice in Wonderland” you would be wise to follow the King’s advice to the white rabbit and always “beBatman.hearsaygin at the beginning.” In other words, when asked to rule on the admissibility of an out-of-court statement, instead of assuming the statement is hearsay and skipping directly to the hearsay exceptions (which is what most of us do), it is usually best to take a step back, go to the beginning and ask the threshold question: is this out-of-court statement really hearsay? The answer isn’t always clear. Many statements that initially appear to be hearsay, on closer examination, actually are not. In order to make that determination I suggest you apply the following FOOL-PROOF HEARSAY TEST.