I Say, You Say, We All Hearsay


Coming to a Civil Procedure exam near you: James Washington has been convicted of a 1995 murder after giving what he thought was a death bed confession when he suffered a heart attack, only to survive. Washington, who was already in prison, believed he wouldn’t live to face the consequences as he told guard James Tomlinson that he killed Joyce Goodener. After surviving the heart attack, Washington tried to take back his statement, but it was too late. Washington now faces a life sentence.

A heart attack? Seriously? You used a dying declaration on a heart attack? Pop a couple of Aspirin and save the dying declaration for when you get shanked 20 times in the yard. I’m pretty sure I am having a heart attack once a week but then I realize it’s my shitty diet causing heartburn and I take a Tums. Really though, I always thought the dying declaration was bullshit. Sure it was a real thing 100 years ago when science sucked and life was like the movie Tombstone, but not today. Just because your chest is exploding doesn’t mean it’s the right time to get that murder off your chest. Snitches get stitches and when you snitch on yourself they will just stitch up your heart and you will get a life sentence.

P.S. Did anyone know that the first American dying declaration exception was used by John Adams as an attorney for British soldiers during the Boston Massacre trials? The more you know: da na da naaaaa.

Post image from Shutterstock.

Douglas Stephan is a solo attorney and owner of the Law Office of Douglas A. Stephan. He received his JD in 2010 from Ohio Northern University and BA from Ohio University. His practice is located outside of Dayton, Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @stephanlaw.

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