Washington Law Review


The "Dead Man Statutes" of the several states, which exclude testimony by interested parties in certain cases, stand in the unique position of being condemned by all the modern writers on the law of evidence. Yet this exception to the abrogation of the common law rule against testimony by interested parties still survives in the majority of the states, and furthermore, the courts are generally agreed that the statutes are to be strictly construed. However, in the application to a particular set of facts, such as whether the interested survivor may deny that a transaction took place, or whether the statute is applicable to proceedings in probate or contest of a will, the decisions are in hopeless conflict, due more or less to the phraseology of the particular statute. Since no other state has a statute closely resembling that of Washington, extra-state precedents are of slight value. It remains for us to look to the recent decisions of the Washington court to determine the applicability of the statute and thus perhaps better judge whether the widespread criticism of the statute is warranted.

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