The opinion of the court was delivered by: Castillo, District Judge.
A grand jury indicted Tiburcio Valenzuela and his co-defendant, Hugo
Corral, for possession with the intent to distribute approximately six
kilograms of cocaine. Immediately after Valenzuela and Corral were
arrested, Corral gave a statement to Drug Enforcement Agent Steve
McGuigan and, after posting bond, absconded. Valenzuela asks this Court
to preclude the government's use of Corral's statement at trial, arguing
that the statement is inadmissible hearsay. The government maintains that
the statement is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(3) as
a statement against interest. We conclude that Corral's statement is
neither truly against his own interest nor trustworthy as required by
Rule 804(b)(3) and, therefore, exclude any reference to the substance of
Corral's statement at trial.
Corral and Valenzuela appeared before Magistrate Judge Rosemond on
October 17, 1998. Corral posted a $4,500.00 bond, but Valenzuela was
denied bond. Apparently Corral attended the christening of his child,
appeared at a preliminary examination hearing on October 21, and submitted
to an additional interview with McGuigan. At the second interview, Corral
primarily confirmed the information he gave to McGuigan during his first
statement. (Resp.Br.Ex. D.) Corral disappeared sometime before November
17, the day Judge Rosemond issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Corral
remains a fugitive.
The government wants Agent McGuigan to testify at Valenzuela's trial
about Corral's statements regarding his and Valenzuela's drug trafficking
activities; specifically, it wants McGuigan to tell the jury about the
six occasions that Valenzuela allegedly instructed Corral to pick-up or
deliver drugs. The government presents no argument about those portions
of Corral's statement that do not pertain to actual trafficking (e.g.,
how Corral met Valenzuela, that Valenzuela bought him a cell phone), even
though Valenzuela's motion also challenges the admissibility of these
Valenzuela wants to keep Corral's statement out of evidence. He
maintains that the entire statement is hearsay not subject to the
"statement against interest" exception found in Rule 804(b)(3).
Primarily, he argues that the statement was really a product of Corral's
attempts to "curry favor" with the authorities so that he could obtain
bail and attend his child's christening.
 Rule 804(b)(3) provides that an out-of-court statement which, at
the time of its making, "tended to subject the declarant to civil or
criminal liability . . . [such] that a reasonable person in the
declarant's position would not have made it unless believing it to be
true" is admissible at trial. The underlying reason for this hearsay
exception is "the common sense notion that reasonable people, even
reasonable people who are not especially honest, tend not to make
self-inculpatory statements unless they believe them to be true."
Williamson v. United States, 512 U.S. 594, 598, 114 S.Ct. 2431, 129
L.Ed.2d 476 (1994). The government bears the burden of establishing the
admissibility of Corral's out-of-court statement. American Automotive
Accessories, Inc. v. Fishman, 175 F.3d 534, 539-40 (7th Cir. 1999) ("The
proponent of the out-of-court statement bears the burden of showing that
the statement qualifies under Rule 804(b)(3)").
 Under Rule 804(b)(3) the admissibility of a hearsay statement
rests on three elements: the declarant is unavailable; the statement is
against the declarant's penal interest; and the statement is
trustworthy. See, e.g., United States v. Butler, 71 F.3d 243, 252 (7th
Cir. 1995). We waste no time on the first prong because Corral is clearly
unavailable: he is a fugitive. But there appears to be some confusion
among the courts over which of the two remaining Rule 804(b)(3) elements
is implicated by Valenzuela's "curry favor" argument.
First, a district court must look to the relationship
between the confessing party and the [inculpated]
party. Second, the court must consider whether the
confessor made a voluntary statement after being
advised of his Miranda rights. Third, the court must
determine whether there is any evidence that the
statement was made in order to curry favor with the
Id. at 805; see also United States v. Sandoval-Curiel, 50 F.3d 1389, 1392
(7th Cir. 1995) ("The statement, however, was sufficiently trustworthy:
. . . nothing indicates that the statement was made in an attempt to
curry favor with law enforcement officers."); United States v. Garcia,
986 F.2d 1135, 1140 (7th Cir. 1993) ("[W]e identified two additional
factors which supported the trustworthiness of the testimony: . ...