This article discusses how courts admit and exclude threat hearsay in the domestic homicide context and suggests an approach for admission of such evidence. After analyzing the current evidentiary status of the victim's statements regarding threats in homicide cases in which an apparently abusive spouse/partner is accused, I argue for adoption of a new hearsay exception that permits systematic admission of victims' statements concerning threats and violence by the accused. The victim can no longer speak for herself because she has been killed, often because the law is apparently helpless to intervene on her behalf, even when asked. Consequently, the legal system must change to admit her words, even if it is too late to save her. While such statements would not, and should not, suffice to convict someone of homicide, they may well provide the critical piece of cumulative evidence that convinces a jury that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Donna Meredith Matthews,
Making the Crucial Connection: A Proposed Threat Hearsay Exception, 27 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.