Under Pennsylvania law for a statement to meet this hearsay exception the following five (5) criteria must be met: (1) the person must make a statement; (2) the speaker must have firsthand knowledge of the statement, (3) the speaker was, at the time of trial, unavailable as a witness; (4) the statement at the time of its making … subjected himself to  criminal liability and a reasonable person in his position would not have made the statement unless believing it to be true;  and  (5) there is corroborating circumstances clearly indicate the trustworthiness of the statement.

Generally speaking, a statement against penal interests is when someone makes a statement implicating themselves in the planning or commission of a crime.  The party offering the evidence must show 1. a statement was made, 2. the person had firsthand knowledge of the statement, 3. the speaker is either dead, completely missing and unable to be produced as a witness, or invoking his 5th Amendment right not to testify, 4. the speaker essentially admits to doing something that is criminal, and 5. there is some way to show the statement is trustworthy.