Stein Sp06 Evidence class notes

Stein Sp06 Evidence class notes - January 17, 2006...

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January 17, 2006 Preliminaries 1) Institutional setting -structure of the trial -judge (neutral adjudicator, instructs jury about law and control flow of evidence in litigation, decides whether evidence is admissible under Rule 103(d)) -jury (triers of fact) -parties confronting each other (supply evidence) what are society’s interests -just outcome -wants truth -efficient adjudication (resources are limited) evidence law is necessary to rectify the misalignment between the private interest (present a winning case) and the public interest (truthful, just outcome) evidence rules are to make the litigation process more efficient -special exemptions are not normally paid for by the taxpayer but by the requesting party -party can be special at party’s expense, not taxpayers 7 th Amendment allows for bench trial (no jury) -has to be a controversy at common law in the amount of more than $20 -statutory entitlements do not confer a right to trial by jury -federal government can be sued in tort (FTCA) [statutory right] 5 th or 6 th Amendment confers a right to trial-by-jury for all felonies -bench trial may be granted upon approval by prosecutor and sometimes judge -federal criminal trials, jury cannot be waived 3 rd Amendment says criminal trials should be conducted before a jury 2) Vocabulary -admissibility [evidence is admissible or not] {judge must so determine} -hearsay rule is testimony by proxy -Rule 802 says hearsay is inadmissible -how to prevent this testimony from being entered into the record [object: hearsay; motion to strike] -objection and motion to strike must be timely -if don’t object in a timely fashion, right of exclusion is deemed waived and is not appealable -may want to maintain the objectionable testimony on the record and use it to impeach a witness or discredit prosecution’s case -however, if simply not paying attention, this could be grounds for discipline -Rule 103(d) says judge must exclude double hearsay evidence even if no objection is made because it is unfair to the defendant when a plain error is made
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-trial is adversarial and normally if both parties do not object, then it should be allowed to stand -however, if counsel is ineffective, then responsibility falls to judge to ensure that defendant is not substantially and negatively affected by evidence that is not normally admissible -hearsay is wrapped up in the bow of the confrontation rule -confrontation right is a constitutional right and is automatically reversible -evidence that is inadmissible and obviously prejudicial must be kept out under Rule 103(d) -plain error means the decision cannot stand -also harmless error, reversible error, constitutional error January 18, 2006 to appeal against factual findings of a jury is impossible, generally -appellate judges exercise an almost unqualified deference to jurors’ decisions -in order to appeal successfully on anything that relates to fact finding you need to identify an error in law, this and only this can constitute ground for appeal on evidential
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Stein Sp06 Evidence class notes - January 17, 2006...

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