This Note has examined the use of the common-law Hillmon doctrine and rule 803(3) in a limited context. Several approaches are available to a court that considers whether to admit a Hillmon statement. A court in a jurisdiction that still applies the common-law hearsay rule may adhere to the status quo. Ample authority exists to permit this approach. Nevertheless, because admission of a Hillmon statement risks certain inherent dangers, a common-law court should avoid a perfunctory application of the exception. Instead, the court must examine carefully each Hillmon statement to ensure that it does not prejudice the defendant's right to a fair trial. Part V suggested that such an analysis includes consideration of (1) the past/future distinction; (2) the statement's relevance to a material issue in the case; (3) the existence of corroborative evidence; and (4) the risk of potential prejudice. Although most courts likely will resolve these questions in favor of admissibility,the analysis provides a court bound by a jurisdictional rule through stare decisis a basis upon which to exclude certain Hillmon statements when the facts of the case warrant it. All courts must impose the Shepard limitation on Hillmon statements; both common law and rule 803(3) mandate confining the exception to statements of intention that point only toward future conduct. The continued vitality of the rule against hearsay necessitates strict compliance with this requirement.
Thomas A. Wiseman, III,
Federal Rule of Evidence 803(3) and the Criminal Defendant: The Limits of the Hillmon Doctrine,
35 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol35/iss3/8