An admission in a civil action is a statement of a party, made in or out of court, which is offered as evidence against that party. A statement will also be treated as an admission if made by a non-party but adopted by a party,1 or if made by a person authorized by the party to make the statement, by an agent or servant of the party or by a co-conspirator of the party.2 Statements of low level employees of a party may constitute admissions of a party if the subject of the statements concern a matter within the scope of their employment.2.1 A report by an expert for a witness is deemed to be an admission by the party who retained the expert.2.2
An admission in a criminal action is a statement made by an accused, in or out of court, of facts tending to prove guilt but which are insufficient, without proof of other facts, to establish guilt.3 If the statement, by itself or together with other statements of the accused, admits facts sufficient to establish guilt, the admission or group of admissions are called a confession.4
Admissions in civil actions are treated differently from admissions and confessions in criminal actions insofar as the requirements and procedures for admission into evidence are concerned. In criminal cases, differences in treatment of admissions as opposed to confessions which have been recognized in the past have tended to disappear under modern decisions.
1. See § 17:02.
2. D.R.E. 801(d)(2).
3. Brown v. State, 105 A.2d 646, 648 (Del. 1954).
4. Brown v. State, 105 A.2d 646, 649 (Del. 1954).
© 2010 David L. Finger