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Under Rule 803(2) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, a court may admit out-of-court statements for the truth of the matter asserted when they 'relate to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.' To satisfy the exception, a party must show three things. 'First, there must be an event startling enough to cause nervous excitement. Second, the statement must be made before there is time to contrive or misrepresent. And, third, the statement must be made while the person is under the stress of the excitement caused by the event.' Haggins v. Warden, Fort Pillow State Farm, 715 F.2d 1050, 1057 (6th Cir.1983). All three inquiries bear on 'the ultimate question': 'Whether the statement was the result of reflective thought or whether it was a spontaneous reaction to the exciting event.' Id. at 1058 (internal quotation marks omitted). Appeals courts apply abuse-of-discretion review to a district court's application of the rule. See United States v. Beverly, 369 F.3d 516, 540 (6th Cir.2004).


The unexpected appearance of the victim's assailant independently suffices to establish a startling event followed by an understandably excited ...

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