A New Theory of Hearsay: Incorporating Rule 403 Into the Hearsay Analysis, by Evidence ProfBlogger (Colin Miller, Editor), EvidenceProf Blog
Federal Rule of Evidence 803 provides exceptions to the rule against hearsay that apply regardless of the availability of the hearsay declarant. Federal Rule of Evidence 804 provides exceptions to the rule against hearsay that apply if the hearsay declarant is ‘unavailable.’ As exceptions to the rule against hearsay, these Rules merely place qualifying statements beyond the scope of Federal Rule of Evidence 802. And what this means is that, like all evidence, statements falling under a hearsay exception must be relevant under Federal Rule of Evidence 401 and have a probative value that is not substantially outweighed by dangers such as the danger of unfair prejudice under Federal Rule of Evidence 403. And yet, parties almost never make Rule 403 objections to evidence offered under a hearsay exception, and courts almost never sustain such objections. Why?