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Heasay Exceptions; Declarant Unavailable FRE Rule 804 is discussed in this chapter. It is the Hearsay Exception involving Declarants who are unavailable. The chapter topic provides some comparisons to the case at the following link,
Johnson involved an anonymous tip from a phone call about an alleged drug dealer. Police did not make an effort to verify the tip caller’s name, address, details, etc. It is possible that if the attempt had been made that the “declarant” would be “unavailable” in that the tipster might have given false information for various reasons (fear of “getting involved” or even that the possibility that the tipster was a drug-selling competitor who was trying to put his competition out of business).
Here is a related issue: In a motion to suppress hearing (which would precede any trial), when the police officer testifies about the tip (to explain why he searched the defendant) then the judge will overrule any hearsay objection concerning the officer’s description of the tipster’s comments in the phone call.
That is because it is not the trial, but a preliminary proceeding where the officer CAN rely on hearsay, even if the declarant is unavailable (or not), in explaining his reasons to stop and search someone.
It would be different if the case had proceeded to trial (which could happen if a defense attorney did not make a motion to suppress).
In trial a hearsay objection becomes more important and the judge is going to prevent any detailed information / testimony from the officer about comments in the phone call from the tipster. The “declarant unavailable” exception would not solve the problem.
Cases such as Johnson are usually nothing but the officer testifying about stopping the defendant, searching him and finding the drugs (entered as an exhibit).
It is odd to note that if the trial Judge had granted the motion to suppress (instead the appellate court did so much later) then the government might have tried (though it is unlikely) to have continued to trial if the government had actually been able to locate the tipster and if the tipster could have come into court and testified to personally observing the defendant possessing the drugs before the officer seized them.
Of course, under those circumstances, the declarant would not be unavailable.
Please discuss the case and / or the chapter.

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