Rule 803(2). Excited Utterance.
(2) Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused. When the declarant is unidentified, the proponent shall show by independent corroborating evidence that the declarant actually perceived the startling event or condition.
This rule differs from F.R.E. 803(2) insofar as it requires independent corroborating evidence when the declarant is unidentified. See Commonwealth v, Upshur, 764 A.2d 69 (Pa. Super. 2000).
This exception has a more narrow base than the exception for a present sense impression, because it requires an event or condition that is startling. However, it is broader in scope because an excited utterance (1) need not describe or explain the startling event or condition; it need only relate to it, and (2) need not be made contemporaneously with, or immediately after, the startling event. It is sufficient if the stress of excitement created by the startling event or condition persists as a substantial factor in provoking the utterance.
There is no set time interval following a startling event or condition after which an utterance relating to it will be ineligible for exception to the hearsay rule as an excited utterance. In Commonwealth v. Gore, 396 A.2d 1302, 1305 (Pa. Super. 1978), the court explained:
The declaration need not be strictly contemporaneous with the existing cause, nor is there a definite and fixed time limit. . . . Rather, each case must be judged on its own facts, and a lapse of time of several hours has not negated the characterization of a statement as an excited utterance. . . . The crucial question, regardless of the time lapse, is whether, at the time the statement is made, the nervous excitement continues to dominate while the reflective processes remain in abeyance.
The provisions of this Rule 803(2) adopted January 17, 2013, effective in sixty days, 43 Pa.B. 620; amended October 25, 2018, effective December 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 7111. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (389509) to (389510).
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