June 21, 2017 Articles

Rule 803(11): Rarely Applied, Rarely Denied

As long as a document fits the definition of a religious record, regardless of whether it appears trustworthy, it will likely be admitted

by Elizabeth Teter

Federal Rule of Evidence 803(11) is rarely applied. It provides that the following types of religious records, which are otherwise excludable as hearsay, are admissible, regardless of whether the declarant is available: "[a] statement of birth, legitimacy, ancestry, marriage, divorce, death, relationship by blood or marriage, or similar facts of personal or family history, contained in a regularly kept record of a religious organization." Fed. R. Evid. 803(11).

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