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Witness Unavailability and the Hearsay Rule: Everything You Need to Know About Unavailable Witnesses

May 1, 2013

The verdict or final decision in a criminal trial can sometimes come down to the testimony of one particular witness. In some cases, a witness may be unavailable to testify, and when this happens, it raises the question of whether or not a statement can be admitted instead. This is known as hearsay evidence. Admitting a statement can violate the defendant’s right to confront his or her accusers; however, there are a few instances when courts provide exceptions to the hearsay rule.