Are ''excited Utterances'' Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule ?
The United States Supreme Court has held that, unless hearsay evidence either "falls within a firmly rooted hearsay exception" or is supported by a showing of particularized guarantees of trustworthiness, it is inadmissible under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Idaho v. Wright, 497 U.S. 805, 111 L. Ed. 2d 638, 110 S. Ct. 3139 (1990).
Although the Supreme Court did not describe the excited utterance as a firmly rooted hearsay exception, it noted that the circumstances surrounding the excited utterance provide sufficient assurance that the statement is trustworthy and that cross-examination would be superfluous. Id. at 820.
A hearsay exception is "firmly rooted" and thus the hearsay is admissible, if, in light of longstanding judicial and legislative experience, the exception rests on such a solid foundation that admission of virtually any evidence within it comports with the substance of the constitutional protection. Lilly v. Virginia, 527 U.S. 116, 119 S. Ct. 1887, 1895, 144 L. Ed. 2d 117 (1999).
There can be no doubt that the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule is firmly rooted. See White v. Illinois, 502 U.S. 346, 355 n.8, 116 L. Ed. 2d 848, 112 S. Ct. 736 (1992) (discussing "spontaneous declarations").
The exception is at least two centuries old. Id.
As a result, the detention officer's testimony was admissible because the Confrontation Clause was satisfied. Id. at 356.