Excited Utterance Exception to Hearsay Rule
Hearsay is an out-of-court statement "offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted." N.H. R. Evid. 801(c).
"In general, such extrajudicial statements, which are not made under oath or subject to cross-examination, are less trustworthy than those made in court." State v. Cole, 139 N.H. 246, 249, 652 A.2d 1204 (1994).
Consequently, "hearsay is inadmissible unless it falls within an exception to the general rule barring its admission in court." Id.
The "excited utterance" exception to the hearsay rule is based upon the theory that the declarant's statements must be true because the declarant, caught up in a startling event, lacks "the capacity of reflection, thereby producing utterances free of conscious fabrication." Id. ; see also N.H. R. Evid. 803(2).
Under this exception, the declarant's statements must be made spontaneously "while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition." N.H. R. EVID. 803(2);
see also Cole, 139 N.H. at 249 (declarant's deliberate statement excluded regardless of proximity to startling events). "That an out-of-court statement is self-serving does not render it inadmissible." Cole, 139 N.H. at 249.