State v. Choudhry, 206 N.C. App. 418 (Aug. 17, 2010)

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by sustaining the State’s objection to a defense proffer of a co-defendant’s hearsay statement indicating that he and the defendant acted in self-defense. The statement was not admissible under Rule 804(b)(3) (statement against interest exception). To be admissible under that rule (1) the statement must be against the declarant’s interest, and (2) corroborating circumstances must indicate its trustworthiness. As to the second prong, there must be an independent, non-hearsay indication of trustworthiness. There was no issue about whether the statement satisfied the first prong. However, as to the second, there was no corroborating evidence. Furthermore, the co-defendant had a motive to lie: he was he friends with the defendant, married to the defendant’s sister, and had an incentive to exculpate himself. Nor was the statement admissible under the Rule 804(b)(5) catchall exception. Applying the traditional six-part residual exception analysis, the court concluded that, for the reasons noted above, the statement lacked circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness.