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 Rule 804(b)(3) of the new Federal Rules of Evidence provides, with an important qualification, for the admission of a statement by an unavailable declarant that at the time of making tended to subject him to criminal liability. The rule provides in pertinent part, '(b) Hearsay exceptions. The following are not excluded by the hearsay rule if the declarant is unavailable as a witness: * * * * (3) Statement against interest. A statement which was at the time of its making so far contrary to the declarant's pecuniary or proprietary interest, or so far tended to subject him to civil or criminal liability . . . that a reasonable man in his position would not have made the statement unless he believed it to be true. A statement tending to expose the declarant to criminal liability and offered to exculpate the accused is not admissible unless corroborating circumstances clearly indicate the trustworthiness of the statement.'


Rule 804(b)(3) is a departure from the principle laid down in Donnelly v. United States, 228 U.S. 243, 57 L. Ed. 820, 33 S. Ct. 449 (1913), in which the Supreme Court endorsed the exclusion from evidence of a third party's ...

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