Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hemingway and Evidence

Not that I ever read anything other than my classwork, of course, but I happened to just come upon this passage in Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls:

"They tell me you blow bridges very well. Very scientific. It is only hearsay. I have never seen you do anything myself. Maybe nothing ever happens really. You really blow them?"

Now why isn't this conversation between General Golz and Robert Jordan in the Goode Book? It seems to me that it very aptly captures the problem that hearsay testimony poses, namely the inability of a declarant's knowledge to be tested in court when it's brought second-hand. I wonder, however, if this assertion "[Robert Jordan] blows bridges well" made by the collective declarant "they" would fall under the hearsay exception in FRE 803(21) regarding "reputation of a person's character among associates or in the community."

As we're just on the business records exception right now, I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.