1. United States v. Pheaster, (1979); pg. 281, briefed 2/9/96
Prepared by Roger Martin (http://people.qualcomm.com/rmartin/)

2. Facts: Larry was allegedly kidnapped by Angelo. Larry had made statements to friends that he intended to go meet Angelo in the parking lot of the Sambo’s restaurant, and pick up a free pound of marijuana from him.

3. Procedural Posture: The trial court admitted the testimony of the friends as to Larry’s statement of intention to meet Angelo. The defense objected, asserting that although Larry’s statement was competent to prove Larry’s intent and future conduct, it could not be used to prove the conduct of Angelo himself.

4. Issue: Whether the statements of intent of one person that he is going to go meet another person can be used to prove that the two did actually meet. (Hillmon doctrine).

5. Holding: Yes.

6. Reasoning: The court reasoned that the Hillmon doctrine was still intact after the promulgation of the FRE. The inference to be drawn from a person’s intent to perform an act is that he did that act. If the statement implies that a second person would engage in some future conduct with the declarant, that makes the likelihood smaller that the conduct actually took place, but it does not make the actual statement any less reliable (it is still free from memory lapse). Thus, it is a question of degree of inference. Thus, Larry’s statement still fits under the state of mind exception of 803(3), even though it implies conduct by another party as well.

7. Notes: Some other cases will allow this type of statement to prove the other person’s conduct only if there is additional evidence of such conduct to corroborate.

Prob. 4-K: Husband is tried for murder of his wife. There is independent circumstantial evidence of violence between the couple. The prosecutor wants to offer three statements/conduct by the wife as evidence:

1. Weeks before death, Wife told her neighbor “I am afraid my husband is going to kill me.”

2. Days before death, Wife to her neighbor “I am going to Denver to stay with Mother.”

3. Few months before death, Wife left home to spend time in a battered women’s shelter.

Issue: Whether each of these statements is admissible under the state of mind exception to the hearsay doctrine.

Answer: The issue is whether Husband killed wife. 1. Shows the wife’s state of mind clearly, but her state of mind is not an ultimate issue in the case. However, her fear is probative on whether the Husband killed her. Even more probative to show whether Husband was reasonable in assertion of self-defense. 2. Shows present intention to leave home, so it is admissible to show that she did go to Denver, which implies fear of husband. 3. Also shows fear of husband.

Prob. 4-L: A father, Daniel, has a natural son, Frank, and an adopted son, Ike. Frank and his father have a falling out. Daniel makes a will, leaving half to his new wife (Ike’s mother), and half to “his son.” There are several statements that Daniel makes to his friend concerning the making of the will. After Daniel dies, there Frank claims that “my son” meant him, and alternatively that the will was made under the undue influence of Ike and his mother. The following statements were made:

1. In October, Daniel said “Ike is my son now, and I want to take care of him.”

2. In November, Daniel said, “I’m going to do my will this weekend.”

3. In January, Daniel said, “I’m taking care of my son Ike, Frank’s earning enough.”

4. In February, Daniel said, “I just did my will, [after constant nagging by new wife]. She won, she gets the house and the stock that she doesn’t deserve.”

Issue: Whether each of these statements is admissible under the state of mind hearsay exception for declarant’s will.

Answer: 1-3 appear to be clear statements of Daniel’s state of mind, i.e. that he intends to leave his money to “his son” Ike. 4 is being used to show undue influence. The declarant’s state of mind is relevant, but here he is remembering past events. However, the state of mind exception for wills applies to statements regarding the “execution, revocation, identification, or terms of declarant’s will.” Here the statement certainly refers to the terms of the will.