Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Top Five: Adoptive Admissions

Admissions by a party opponent (an exemption to the rule against hearsay) are relatively easy to spot, but a subtle twist on this rule deals with situations in which silence itself can constitute an admission by a party opponent. When silence constitutes an admission by a party opponent it's known as an adoptive admission, and below are five important points to keep in mind regarding adoptive admissions:

(1): An adoptive admission occurs when a person expressly or impliedly adopts or acquiesces to an accusatory statement of another by remaining silent in response to the accusation.

(2): For silence to constitute an admission, it must be true that a reasonable person would not have remained silent in response to the accusatory statements.

(3): When analyzing adoptive admissions, be certain that the party claimed to have made an admission heard and understood the statement. Further, it must be true that the party was physically and mentally capable of denying the statement.

(4): In addition, only if a reasonable person would have affirmatively denied the statement can a statement be deemed an admission when one remains silent in response to the statement.

(5): Importantly, note that silence in response to an accusation by the police in a criminal case is almost never considered an admission of the crime, as the 5th Amendment provides for the right to remain silent in such situations.

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