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FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE 1. STANDARDS a. Evidence to support = a reasonable jury could find b. Probative vs. prejudicial i. 403 1. “Probative value is substantially outweighed by” prejudice etc… 2. Excluded if prejudice >> probative value ii. Reverse 403 1. Included if probative value >> prejudice 2. Include evidence of prior convictions even if there is prejudice due to removal in time of conviction iii. Even balancing 1. Excluded if prejudice > probative value (weak 403) 2. Included if probative value > prejudice (weak reverse 403) 2. PRECONDITIONS TO TESTIMONY c. Competency of Witnesses i. R.601—Competency 1. Rule: everybody’s competent to be a witness a. In civil actions, competency of witness determined accordance with State law 2. Practice: judges will inquire into W’s understanding of proceedings and duties d. Personal knowledge i. R.602— Lack of Personal knowledge 1. Witness may not testify to a matter unless sufficient evidence is introduced to show that witness has personal knowledge of the matter 2. Can be shown/supported by the witness’s own testimony 3. Exception in Rule 703 opinion testimony by expert witness ii. R.701—Lay opinion 1. Lay opinions are limited. 2. They must be: (a) rationally based on W’s perception, (b) helpful , (c) no specialized knowledge necessary e. R. 201 - Judicial Notic e i. Standard used to accept judicial notice ii. (a) Rule governs adjudicative fact – kind of evidence jury would normally decide 1. Who, what, when, where, how, etc. iii. (b) Judicially noticed fact must not be subject to reasonable dispute: 1. Fact is either generally known w/in the territorial jurisdiction of the court, or 2. Fact is capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned iv. Court allowed to take judicial notice 1. (c) At its discretion – court may take judicial notice 2. (d) Or mandatory when a motion is made by party + supplied with necessary information a. Court must take judicial notice v. (e) Party entitled to an opportunity to be heard prior notice of opportunity to be heard after judicial notice has been taken vi. (f) Judicial notice may be taken at any state of the proceeding vii. (g) Jury instructions: 1
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1. In civil trial, instruct jury that they must accept judicially noticed fact as conclusive 2. In criminal trial, instruct jury that is may but is not required to accept judicially noticed fact as conclusive f. Oath- R.603 i. W must give oath to remind him to be truthful 3. OBJECTIONS & INTERROGATION g. R.104 —Preliminary questions i. (a) Simple Relevancy Judge decides issues regarding: 1. Witness qualification/competency, 2. Admissibility of evidence, and 3. Privileges existing to keep someone from providing certain evidence 4. Not left for jury b/c they would not care whether evidence should be allowed or not they would use it in determining guilt or innocence 5. To decide regarding evidence, judge needs to hear the evidence to decide to
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This note was uploaded on 03/10/2008 for the course SKILS 955 taught by Professor Mogill,michaelal during the Fall '07 term at Penn State.

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