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Res Gestae

Definition - What does Res Gestae mean?

Res gestae is an archaic term generally pertaining to the presentation and admissibility of certain evidence. The Latin term was originally used to describe specific actions that occurred at the same time as or in the immediate aftermath of the incident before the court. Because it was critical to proving or disproving the matter at hand, any evidence recognized as res gestae was exempt from the hearsay rule.

The term is also used to refer to the process of a felony murder.

Justipedia explains Res Gestae

The term res gestae is rarely used in modern American law. This is because legal changes made over the years essentially rendered it obsolete. Even so, many actions previously classified as res gestae are now widely recognized as exceptions to the hearsay rule under current laws.

A specific example is a spontaneous statement made immediately before, during or after the occurrence in question. For instance, the testimony of an eyewitness who heard an accused killer yell, "I'm going to kill you!" immediately followed by gun shots, could be classified as res gestae and is now exempt from the hearsay rule under existing laws.

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