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Related question: Why isn't Courtney Crimsen's testimony likely true simply because it's against her interest?

In 13 Reasons Why, Hannah Baker's tapes receive some suspicion of truth, accuracy or completeness. Some, like Bryce, asked questions like 'Who's gonna believe a dead girl?' while others said 'Why would a dead girl lie?'. The thing is: who isn't gonna believe a dead girl by the dying declaration rationale?

In law there is the concept of a Dying Declaration, which attributes higher truth value to testimonies made by a dying person:

The rationale, accurate or not, is that someone who is dying or believes death to be imminent would have less incentive to fabricate testimony, and as such, the hearsay statement carries with it some reliability.

Forget the legal concept a bit because I'm not so interested in admissibility of the tapes and focus more on its rationale and hence the credibility of the tapes.

So why aren't Hannah Baker's tapes assumed to be (likely) true? Why is there such a reluctance by the characters to believe her tapes? I suspect the dying declaration rationale might be N/A due either to certain events or sayings in the show that I may have overlooked or to certain legal aspects like suicide not being part of the dying declaration. In the Wiki article, I didn't see anything in the US section about suicide. I have a feeling it's inferred from somewhere that suicide doesn't count.

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    I haven't watched the show, but this question doesn't seem to make any sense. The Wikipedia just states that a dying declaration can be admitted as evidence (when normally "hearsay" isn't); it doesn't imply anything about the truth of the declaration being made, which is presumably something that would still have to be proven to some degree. – Anthony Grist Jun 7 '18 at 9:56
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    Not sure what you are after here. You question seems to be inviting discussion or opinions around the "Social/epistemological aspect:". I'm sure there might be a M&TV Q&A in there somewhere but as I said, I'm not really sure what answer you are after. Also, "likely" is troubling to me....again this seems to be opinion-based. – Paulie_D Jun 7 '18 at 11:16
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    Frankly, after all those edit this question is a mess. What is the context for this question? What are you actually asking? Those bullet points don't seem to be connected in any way. I implore anyone who has watched the show and gets remotely what this question is trying to adress to edit this into shape and seriously clean up those bullet points and quotes and bring them into a coherent structue. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 7 '18 at 12:00
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    I think introducing the concept of "dying declaration" - which, again, has nothing to do with the truth of the claims being made - is confusing this issue. If you just want to know why people might not believe her, just ask that. The "dying declaration" aspect of the law has absolutely nothing to do with that. – Anthony Grist Jun 7 '18 at 12:03
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    On top of that the biggest problem is introducing this term (and a ton of marginal discussion around it) before even asking a question or clarifying what film this is even about, and interspersing that necessary context within a myriad of unrelated bullet points discussing the Wikipedia link. I'd strongly advise going into yourself and thinking really thoroughly what you want to ask about the show and then trying to do that, preferably by reconstructing the entire question from the ground up rather than adding bits and pieces based on comment exchanges in the middel here and there. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 7 '18 at 12:07
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We really don't know if what Hannah said it's the honest and crude truth.

Some other character in the show said the following:

There are always 2 sides of the same story.

Hannah were speaking her truth, her side of the story. Some of her truths are real but some of another may be not all the truth, we don't know.

Your link on the Dying Declaration also tells:

Tests for admissibility of a "dying declaration"

In common law, a "dying declaration" must have been a statement made by a deceased person who would otherwise have been a credible witness to their own death by murder or manslaughter, and was of "settled hopeless expectation of death".

Was Hannah a credible witness to her own death? She was hurt of all the things others done to her so she could influence the stories to focus really on her side of the story instead of the whole picture. That's why all their friends are suspecting about her truth (and probably why the court didn't take that into account).

With a deeper search I found what I concluded in the paragraph ahead:

But is DD hearsay evidence really that bad? Do people, at the point of death, make unreliable statements? Not even modern defenders of the exception such as Orenstein try to justify the rule using scientific literature. Rather, almost all assume that there is no positive, empirical case to be made about the reliability of DD hearsay evidence.

She killed herself. Her story becomes less reliable and no one confirms all the stuff she said so it could be contradictory in the eyes of the court. Dying declarations are barely accepted on trials and once Season 2 started, the tapes were simply forgotten until Clay released them online (that didn't affect the trial).

The focus on Season 2 was showing a bigger picture of what Hannah did, and besides, if they would apply the DD it wouldn't be possible to the series having the intense drama. (I don't think it was even necessary a 2nd season..)


PS: This probably doesn't really answer fully your question but this is my point of view towards the show.

  • Thanks. I'll have to analyse further in rereading. For now...First paragraph: Right so completeness rather truth or accuracy? Last paragraph: What's the relevance to dying declaration? Is it that suicide is not murder or manslaughter? – BCLC Jun 7 '18 at 16:47
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    @BCLC See my edit. Technically suicide is not murder or manslaughter. You can see the link I quoted on manslaughter as well. – CaldeiraG Jun 7 '18 at 19:09
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    If you really want to dig deeper about the relevance of DD Law.SE is the right place, Google is also one option – CaldeiraG Jun 7 '18 at 19:20
  • Okay lemme get this straight: 1. The suspicion is more of the completeness than than the intent or accuracy. 2. Suicide is not part of dying declaration. 3. In general, dying declarations are barely accepted. 4. Out of universe explanation is that if we somehow rule out 1,2 and 3, there wouldn't be much of a show. Additionally, a 2nd season, going past the novel content, wasn't necessary. <-- are these your main propositions? Are these your only main propositions? – BCLC Jun 11 '18 at 4:23

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