Coconspirators Exception Law and Legal Definition

Coconspirator’s exception is an exception to the hearsay rule. Under this exception one conspirator’s acts and statements, if made during and in furtherance of the conspiracy, are admissible against a defendant even if the statements are made in the defendant’s absence. A coconspirator’s exception is also termed coconspirator’s rule.

To fall within definition of coconspirator hearsay exception, statements must be made during course, and be in furtherance, of conspiracy. [Whelchel v. Wood, 996 F. Supp. 1019, 1028 (D. Wash. 1997)].

The following is an example of a case law explaining the factors required to admit a statement under coconspirator’s exception:

To admit a statement under the coconspirator exception to the hearsay definition, a district court must find two factors by a preponderance of the evidence: first, that a conspiracy existed that included the defendant and the declarant; and second, that the statement was made during the course of and in furtherance of that conspiracy. The appellate court will not disturb a district court's findings on these issues unless they are clearly erroneous. Moreover, any improper admission of coconspirator testimony is subject to harmless error analysis. [United States v. Gigante, 166 F.3d 75 (2d Cir. 1999)].