People v. Grimes

A declarant’s statement incriminating himself and denying involvement by others, including the defendant in this case, is sufficiently against the declarant’s penal interest to allow its admission in evidence under the statement against interest exception to the hearsay rule in Evidence Code 1230.  Evid. Code 1230 allows into evidence statements against the declarant’s penal interest.  This decision holds that a declarant’s statement incriminating himself and saying that others (here, the defendant) did not commit the crime is sufficiently against the declarant’s penal interest to allow its admission in evidence.  The statement others didn’t commit the crime does not lessen the declarant’s responsibility or attempt to lay blame off on others and so should not have been excluded from evidence.  It would have been different if the declarant had admitted committing the crime but also said others took part.  Attempts to incriminate others or indicate they bore greater responsibility would not be admissible under section 1230.

California Supreme Court (Kruger, J.; Cantil-Sakauye, C.J., concurring & dissenting); August 22, 2016; 2016 WL 4434808

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