Home Table of Contents


West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland RulesEffective: October 1, 2021

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 5. Evidence (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 800. Hearsay
Effective: October 1, 2021
MD Rules, Rule 5-803
The following are not excluded by the hearsay rule, even though the declarant is available as a witness:
(a) Statement by Party-Opponent. A statement that is offered against a party and is:
(1) The party's own statement, in either an individual or representative capacity;
(2) A statement of which the party has manifested an adoption or belief in its truth;
(3) A statement by a person authorized by the party to make a statement concerning the subject;
(4) A statement by the party's agent or employee made during the agency or employment relationship concerning a matter within the scope of the agency or employment; or
(5) A statement by a coconspirator of the party during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Committee note: Where there is a disputed issue as to scope of employment, representative capacity, authorization to make a statement, the existence of a conspiracy, or any other foundational requirement, the court must make a finding on that issue before the statement may be admitted. These rules do not address whether the court may consider the statement itself in making that determination. Compare Daugherty v. Kessler, 264 Md. 281, 291-92 (1972) (civil conspiracy); and Hlista v. Altevogt, 239 Md. 43, 51 (1965) (employment relationship) with Bourjaily v. United States, 483 U.S. 171, 107 S.Ct. 775 (1987) (trial court may consider the out-of-court statement in deciding whether foundational requirements for coconspirator exception have been met.)
(b) Other Exceptions.
(1) Present Sense Impression. A statement describing or explaining an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter.
(2) Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.
(3) Then Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition. A statement of the declarant's then existing state of mind, emotion, sensation, or physical condition (such as intent, plan, motive, design, mental feeling, pain, and bodily health), offered to prove the declarant's then existing condition or the declarant's future action, but not including a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the execution, revocation, identification, or terms of declarant's will.
(4) Statements for Purposes of Medical Diagnosis or Treatment. Statements made for purposes of medical treatment or medical diagnosis in contemplation of treatment and describing medical history, or past or present symptoms, pain, or sensation, or the inception or general character of the cause or external sources thereof insofar as reasonably pertinent to treatment or diagnosis in contemplation of treatment.
(5) Recorded Recollection. See Rule 5-802.1 (e) for recorded recollection.
(6) Records of Regularly Conducted Business Activity. A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation of acts, events, conditions, opinions, or diagnoses if (A) it was made at or near the time of the act, event, or condition, or the rendition of the diagnosis, (B) it was made by a person with knowledge or from information transmitted by a person with knowledge, (C) it was made and kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity, and (D) the regular practice of that business was to make and keep the memorandum, report, record, or data compilation. A record of this kind may be excluded if the source of information or the method or circumstances of the preparation of the record indicate that the information in the record lacks trustworthiness. In this paragraph, “business” includes business, institution, association, profession, occupation, and calling of every kind, whether or not conducted for profit.
Cross reference: Rule 5-902 (12).
Committee note: Public records specifically excluded from the public records exceptions in subsection (b)(8) of this Rule may not be admitted pursuant to this exception.
(7) Absence of Entry in Records Kept in Accordance With Subsection (b)(6). Unless the circumstances indicate a lack of trustworthiness, evidence that a diligent search disclosed that a matter is not included in the memoranda, reports, records, or data compilations kept in accordance with subsection (b)(6), when offered to prove the nonoccurrence or nonexistence of the matter, if the matter was of a kind about which a memorandum, report, record, or data compilation was regularly made and preserved.
(8) Public Records and Reports.
(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, a memorandum, report, record, statement, or data compilation made by a public agency setting forth
(i) the activities of the agency;
(ii) matters observed pursuant to a duty imposed by law, as to which matters there was a duty to report;
(iii) in civil actions and when offered against the State in criminal actions, factual findings resulting from an investigation made pursuant to authority granted by law; or
(iv) in a final protective order hearing conducted pursuant to Code, Family Law Article, § 4-506, factual findings reported to a court pursuant to Code, Family Law Article, § 4-505, provided that the parties have had a fair opportunity to review the report.
Committee note: If necessary, a continuance of a final protective order hearing may be granted in order to provide the parties a fair opportunity to review the report and to prepare for the hearing.
(B) A record offered pursuant to paragraph (A) may be excluded if the source of information or the method or circumstance of the preparation of the record indicate that the record or the information in the record lacks trustworthiness.
(C) Except as provided in subsection (b)(8)(D) of this Rule, a record of matters observed by a law enforcement person is not admissible under this paragraph when offered against an accused in a criminal action.
(D) Subject to Rule 5-805, an electronic recording of a matter made by a body camera worn by a law enforcement person or by another type of recording device employed by a law enforcement agency may be admitted when offered against an accused if (i) it is properly authenticated, (ii) it was made contemporaneously with the matter recorded, and (iii) circumstances do not indicate a lack of trustworthiness.
Committee note: Subsection (b)(8)(D) establishes requirements for the admission of certain electronic recordings made by a body camera worn by a law enforcement person or by another type of recording device employed by a law enforcement agency against an accused. Subsection (b)(8)(D) does not preclude an accused from offering on his or her own behalf a record of matters observed by a law enforcement person, including a recording made by a body camera. This section does not mandate following the interpretation of the term “factual findings” set forth in Beech Aircraft Corp. v. Rainey, 488 U.S. 153 (1988). See Ellsworth v. Sherne Lingerie, Inc., 303 Md. 581 (1985).
(9) Records of Vital Statistics. Except as otherwise provided by statute, records or data compilations of births, fetal deaths, deaths, or marriages, if the report thereof was made to a public office pursuant to requirements of law.
Cross reference: See Code, Health General Article, § 4-223 (inadmissibility of certain information when paternity is contested) and § 5-311 (admissibility of medical examiner's reports).
(10) Absence of Public Record or Entry. Unless the circumstances indicate a lack of trustworthiness, evidence in the form of testimony or a certification in accordance with Rule 5-902 that a diligent search has failed to disclose a record, report, statement, or data compilation made by a public agency, or an entry therein, when offered to prove the absence of such a record or entry or the nonoccurrence or nonexistence of a matter about which a record was regularly made and preserved by the public agency.
(11) Records of Religious Organizations. Statements of births, marriages, divorces, deaths, legitimacy, ancestry, relationship by blood or marriage, or other similar facts of personal or family history, contained in a regularly kept record of a religious organization.
(12) Marriage, Baptismal, and Similar Certificates. Statements of fact contained in a certificate that the maker performed a marriage or other ceremony or administered a sacrament, made by a member of the clergy, public official, or other person authorized by the rules or practices of a religious organization or by law to perform the act certified, and purporting to have been issued at the time of the act or within a reasonable time thereafter.
(13) Family Records. Statements of fact concerning personal or family history contained in family Bibles, genealogies, charts, engravings on rings, inscriptions on family portraits, engravings on urns, crypts, or tombstones or the like.
(14) Records of Documents Affecting an Interest in Property. The record of a document purporting to establish or affect an interest in property, as proof of the content of the original recorded document and its execution and delivery by each person by whom it purports to have been executed, if the record is a record of a public office and a statute authorizes the recording of documents of that kind in that office.
(15) Statements in Documents Affecting an Interest in Property. A statement contained in a document purporting to establish or affect an interest in property if the matter stated was relevant to the purpose of the document, unless dealings with the property since the document was made have been inconsistent with the truth of the statement or the purport of the document or the circumstances otherwise indicate lack of trustworthiness.
(16) Statements in Ancient Documents. Statements in a document in existence twenty years or more, the authenticity of which is established, unless the circumstances indicate lack of trustworthiness.
(17) Market Reports and Published Compilations. Market quotations, tabulations, lists, directories, and other published compilations, generally used and reasonably relied upon by the public or by persons in particular occupations.
(18) Learned Treatises. To the extent called to the attention of an expert witness upon cross-examination or relied upon by the expert witness in direct examination, statements contained in a published treatise, periodical, or pamphlet on a subject of history, medicine, or other science or art, established as a reliable authority by the testimony or admission of the witness, by other expert testimony, or by judicial notice. If admitted, the statements may be read into evidence but may not be received as exhibits.
(19) Reputation Concerning Personal or Family History. Reputation, prior to the controversy before the court, among members of a person's family by blood, adoption, or marriage, or among a person's associates, or in the community, concerning a person's birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, death, or other similar fact of personal or family history.
(20) Reputation Concerning Boundaries or General History.
(A) Reputation in a community, prior to the controversy before the court, as to boundaries of, interests in, or customs affecting lands in the community.
(B) Reputation as to events of general history important to the community, state, or nation where the historical events occurred.
(21) Reputation as to Character. Reputation of a person's character among associates or in the community.
(22) [Vacant]. There is no subsection 22.
(23) Judgment as to Personal, Family, or General History, or Boundaries. Judgments as proof of matters of personal, family, or general history, or boundaries, essential to the judgment, if the matter would be provable by evidence of reputation under subsections (19) or (20).
(24) Other Exceptions. Under exceptional circumstances, the following are not excluded by the hearsay rule: A statement not specifically covered by any of the hearsay exceptions listed in this Rule or in Rule 5-804, but having equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness, if the court determines that (A) the statement is offered as evidence of a material fact; (B) the statement is more probative on the point for which it is offered than any other evidence which the proponent can procure through reasonable efforts; and (C) the general purposes of these rules and the interests of justice will best be served by admission of the statement into evidence. A statement may not be admitted under this exception unless the proponent of it makes known to the adverse party, sufficiently in advance of the trial or hearing to provide the adverse party with a fair opportunity to prepare to meet it, the intention to offer the statement and the particulars of it, including the name and address of the declarant.
Committee note: The residual exception provided by Rule 5-803 (b)(24) does not contemplate an unfettered exercise of judicial discretion, but it does provide for treating new and presently unanticipated situations which demonstrate a trustworthiness within the spirit of the specifically stated exceptions. Within this framework, room is left for growth and development of the law of evidence in the hearsay area, consistently with the broad purposes expressed in Rule 5-102.
It is intended that the residual hearsay exception will be used very rarely, and only in exceptional circumstances. The Committee does not intend to establish a broad license for trial judges to admit hearsay statements that do not fall within one of the other exceptions contained in Rules 5-803 and 5-804 (b). The residual exception is not meant to authorize major judicial revisions of the hearsay rule, including its present exceptions. Such major revisions are best accomplished by amendments to the Rule itself. It is intended that in any case in which evidence is sought to be admitted under this subsection, the trial judge will exercise no less care, reflection, and caution than the courts did under the common law in establishing the now-recognized exceptions to the hearsay rule.
Source: This Rule is derived as follows:
Section (a) is derived from F.R.Ev. 801(d)(2).
Section (b) is derived from F.R.Ev. 803.


[Adopted Dec. 15, 1993, eff. July 1, 1994. Amended Nov. 8, 2005, eff. Jan. 1, 2006; Dec. 4, 2007, eff. Jan. 1, 2008; Sept. 17, 2015, eff. Jan. 1, 2016; Dec. 13, 2016, eff. Apr. 1, 2017; July 9, 2021, eff. Oct. 1, 2021.]
MD Rules, Rule 5-803, MD R REV Rule 5-803
Current with amendments received through December 1, 2023. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
End of Document