United States v. Hoosier
542 F.2d 687 (1976)

  • Hoosier was arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank.
  • At trial, three witness positively identified Hoosier as the bank robber.  A fourth witness, Rodgers, testified that Hoosier told him that he was going to rob the bank, and that after the robbery Hoosier’s girlfriend bragged to him about how much money they had.
    • Hoosier objected on the grounds that out of court statements made by his girlfriend were not admissible because they were hearsay.
  • The Trial Judge allowed the evidence.
  • Hoosier was convicted of bank robbery.  He appealed.
  • The Appellate Court upheld the conviction.
    • The Appellate Court looked to FRE 801(d)(2)(B) which basically says that an admission can be made by adopting or acquiescing to the statements made by another.
      • Hoosier was in the room when his girlfriend was bragging about the money.  His silence was therefore legally an adoptive admission that they had a lot of money.
    • Under FRE 801(d)(2), admissions made by a party-opponent are not considered hearsay.
  • Of course, Hoosier could have argued that he didn’t hear the statement, or he was somehow prevented from speaking, or some other argument.  Had he prevailed, then his silence would not have been considered an acceptance, and the girlfriend’s statement would not have been admissible as an admission.
    • It’s important to have a good lawyer who can make good arguments.
    • Even if the testimony was admitted, Hoosier could have made the same arguments to the jury in order to reduce the weight the jury gave to the admission.