Adell was kidnapped. The kidnappers contacted his father
to arrange a ransom, but numerous problems occurred and no deal could be
reached. After writing 10 letters, the kidnappers ceased contact with the
The FBI arrested Pheaster, and Incisco in connection with
At trial, the prosecution attempted to introduce evidence
by both Adell's girlfriend and another friend that Adell repeatedly said
that he was going to meet Incisco to pick up a free pound of marijuana
from Angelo just prior to his disappearance.
Incisco objected on the grounds that the out-of-court
statement was hearsay.
The prosecution argued that the statement was still
admissible as an exception to hearsay because it was only being
used to establish the state of mind of Adell.
The defendants had argued that Adell hadn't been
kidnapped at all and was faking the kidnapping to extort money from his
father. Adell's statement to his friends could rebut that argument.
Incisco argued that even if that was a winning argument,
they should have redacted his name, since the statement was prejudicial
because it specifically identified Incisco.
They could have just told the jury that Adell said he
was going to meet 'someone'. That would still show Adell's state of
mind, without being prejudicial to Incisco.
The prosecution also invoked the "Hillman
Doctrine" to argue that the statement could indeed be used to prove
that Adell met Incisco.
See Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Hillmon (145 U.S. 285 (1892)).
The Trial Judge allowed the testimony to be admitted, but
he instructed the jury that it could only be used to determine the state
of mind of Adell, and not used to prove the truth of what Adell said.
The Trial Court found the defendants guilty. They
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The Appellate Court looked to FRE 803(3) and found
that the statement was admissible under the state of mind
exception to hearsay.
The Appellate Court also found that the "Hillmon
Doctrine" was not explicitly spelled out in the FRE, but that
it was an acceptable interpretation of the rules.
Basically, the Hillmon Doctrine says that, the state of
mind of the declarant can be used inferentially to prove other matters
which are in issue.
"When the performance of a particular act by an
individual is an issue in a care, his intention to perform that act may
be shown. From that intention, the factfinder may draw the inference that
the person carried out his intention and performed the act."
That's now known as a "Pheaster Statement".
But Pheaster Statements are limited in how they can be
A statement of a declarant is not admissible solely
to show that a 3rd party acted in conformity with his/her intent.
However, a statement of a declarant is admissible
to show the declarant acted in conformity with his/her intent together
with a 3rd party, but the 3rd party is entitled to a limiting