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Prior Consistent Statements

A prior consistent statement requires that the declarant testify at trial and be subject to cross-examination; there must be an accusation, either implicitly or explicitly, by the opposing party of recent fabrication or improper motive; the statement must be consistent with the declarant’s testimony; and the prior statement must have been made prior to the alleged fabrication or improper influence. This prior consistent statement would be used to rebut the charge of recent fabrication.

· State v. Ard, 332 S.C. 370 (1998) Prior consistent statements have several requirements that must be met under SCRE 801(d)(1)(B). “The modification is similar to the pre-rules case law in this state holding the prior consistent statement must have been made before the declarant's ‘relation to the cause.’”

· State v. Winkler, 388 S.C. 574 (2010) State laid a proper foundation for entering a witness’s prior consistent statement: “We hold that Jonathan's statement to Pitts was a prior consistent statement admissible under Rule 801(d)(1)(B), SCRE. First, Jonathan testified at trial and was subject to cross-examination. Second, Appellant accused Jonathan of recently fabricating the statement. Appellant was accusing Jonathan of lying when Jonathan testified that he told Knoch it was his stepdad who shot his mother, not his dad. This alleged fabrication was necessarily recent because it happened during the trial. Third, Jonathan's statement to Pitts was consistent with his testimony at trial. Fourth, the statement to Pitts occurred before the alleged recent fabrication.”

· State v. Foster, 354 S.C. 614 (2003) A prior consistent statement is substantive evidence. A prior consistent statement comes in under SCRE 801(d)(1)(B) or it does not come in at all. There must be an express or implied charge of recent fabrication or improper motive or influence.

· State v. Saltz, 346 S.C. 114 (2001) A prior consistent statement should only be admitted if there is a charge of recent fabrication or improper motive or influence. Impeaching a witness about a prior inconsistent statement is not the same as charging them with recent fabrication. The purpose of the rule is to rebut an allegation of fabrication not to bolster the veracity of their story. There is a difference between questioning the accuracy of a witness’s memory and challenging their motives. This case also provides an example of what the court describes as “precisely” what the rule was designed to address.


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