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Survey Article


One of the more interesting things about writing evidence surveys for the Mercer Law Review for almost twenty years has been watching evidentiary rules rise and, sometimes, fall. No rise has been more dramatic than Georgia's necessity exception to the hearsay rule. Its fall, or partial fall, should be equally dramatic as a result of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Crawford v. Washington, which knocked the constitutional underpinnings from underneath the necessity exception. As discussed in many prior surveys, sometimes with tentative and respectful criticism, the necessity exception, despite a few minor setbacks, has become a vehicle for the admission of hearsay of a nature that likely has Professors Wigmore and McCormick spinning in their graves. One could argue that if its expansion were to continue at the same rate, there would soon be little need for witnesses at all; law enforcement officers could simply bring their recorded statements to court and read them to the jury. That is, of course, an exaggeration, but no one can deny that the scope of admissible hearsay bears little resemblance to the hearsay rule of only twenty years ago.

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