Hearsay Definition In Arkansas

Hearsay is defined by Ark. R. Evid. 801(c) as "a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted."

An out-of-court statement is not hearsay, however, if it is offered to show the basis of an officer's actions. Bragg v. State, 328 Ark. 613, 946 S.W.2d 654 (1997).

The Bragg decision included the following discussion of other cases where officers testified about information from other sources:

In Martin v. State, 316 Ark. 715, 875 S.W.2d 81 (1994), . . . the officer testified to information he had received from an informant, who had wished to remain anonymous, concerning the identity of a robbery suspect's truck, upon which he had relied in broadcasting a description to other police units.

The officer testified further that his broadcast alerted another officer to the suspect truck, which, in turn, caused that second officer to inform a third officer to be on the lookout for the truck.

This court held that because the first officer's testimony was provided in order to show the basis for his actions, the trial court did not err in admitting the testimony.

Similarly, in Hamm v. State, 304 Ark. 214, 800 S.W.2d 711 (1990), the alleged hearsay testimony involved an officer's receipt of information from other officers regarding the description of an automobile.

This court upheld the admission of the officer's testimony, as it was merely offered to show that the officer acted on the description of the car given to him by the other officers.

In Johnson v. State, 313 Ark. 308, 854 S.W.2d 336 (1993), the defense made a hearsay objection when the police officer testified concerning information received from a citizen.

This court found no error since the officer's testimony was not offered for the truth of the citizen's statement, but, instead, was offered to show what information the police acted upon. 328 Ark. at 623-24, 946 S.W.2d at 660.