Juvenile Court Rules
Rules for determinations & hearings pursuant to Commonwealth v. Wallace W.

Juvenile Court Rules  Rule 7. Hearsay evidence

Adopted Date: 07/13/2022
Effective Date: 10/01/2022
Updates: Adopted July 13, 2022, effective October 1, 2022

Table of Contents

A. Admissibility of Hearsay Evidence

Reliable hearsay evidence shall be admissible at a Wallace W. hearing.

The court may rely solely on hearsay evidence regarding whether the minor misdemeanor for which the child is charged is the child’s first offense only if the court finds in writing that the hearsay is substantially reliable. In determining if hearsay is substantially reliable, the court may consider, among other relevant factors, whether the evidence:

(1) is based on personal knowledge and/or direct observation, rather than on other hearsay;

(2) involves observations recorded close in time to the events in question;

(3) is factually detailed, rather than generalized and conclusory;

(4) is internally consistent;

(5) is corroborated by any evidence provided by the child;

(6) was provided by a disinterested witness; or

(7) was provided under circumstances that support the veracity of the source, for example under the pains and penalties of perjury or subject to criminal penalties for providing false information.


The SJC allowed for the admission of reliable hearsay at a Wallace W. hearing “as defined by the Durling case (Commonwealth v. Durling, 407 Mass. 108 (1990)) and its successors.” See Nick N. at 706. To the extent possible it is recommended that children and victims not be compelled to testify at the Wallace W. hearing if reliable hearsay is available. See Nick N. at 708, 709.


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