Illinois still adheres to a rigid and outdated common law principle that treats a learned treatise as hearsay. This principle stands at odds with the adoption of Federal Rules of Evidence 703 ("FRE 703")' and 705 ("FRE 705") by the Illinois Supreme Court. Illinois courts have developed clever ways to get around the common law prohibition thereby creating an incoherent and inconsistent jurisprudence that at times yields bizarre outcomes.
Adopting the federal learned treatise exception to the hearsay rule would set out a consistent standard in Illinois for admitting learned treatises and allowing them as substantive evidence. Now that Illinois has codified the Illinois Rules of Evidence, including provisions similar to FRE 703 and 705, it is time to adopt the learned treatise exception to the hearsay rule, Federal Rule of Evidence 803(18) ("FRE 803(18)"). This will complete the incorporation cycle. More importantly, it will enhance the efficiency of trials in Illinois courts. Failure to adopt an Illinois equivalent of FRE 803(18) will impede the full and proper application of Illinois Rule of Evidence 703 ("IRE 703") and 705 ("IRE 705").
This Article will lay out the current standards in Illinois regarding the use of learned treatises. It will focus on the inconsistencies in the application of the current Illinois common law and then address how adoption of a learned treatise exception to hearsay will increase efficiency among trial courts.
Ralph Ruebner, Katarina Durcova, & Amy Taylor, Why Illinois Should Adopt Federal Rule of Evidence 803(18) to Allow the Learned Treatise Exception to the Hearsay Rule, 39 S. Ill. U. L.J. 275 (2015)