Evidence Outline

Evidence Outline - Evidence Outline Chapter 1 Evidence Law...

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Evidence Outline Chapter 1: Evidence Law and the System: Why We Have Rules of Evidence and How They Work in an Adversarial System A. Why do we have rules of Evidence? 1. Mistrust of juries is the main reason for having rules of evidence. There is a mistrust that a lay jury cannot properly evaluate such things as statements made outside its presence, so therefore we have the hearsay doctrine. 2. To serve substantive policies relating to the matter being litigated . Rules that set and allocate burdens of persuasion are examples. 3. To further substantive policies unrelated to the matter in litigation (extrinsic substantive policies) . Privileges are the prime example. Rules in this category seek to affect behavior outside the courtroom, therefore we have privileges such as the spousal privilege. 4. To ensure accurate fact-finding . Examples of rules in this category are rules that authenticate the evidence and the Best Evidence doctrine. 5. To control the scope and duration of trials . This category of rules allows the judge to confine and organize the dispute, and give the judge greast discretion in terms of evidentiary matters. B . There are a few themes in the evidence code : In general, they favor the admissibility of evidence. The goal is that the fact- finder should have the information. The rules still have an element of discretion on behalf of the judge. C . Where do we get the Federal Rules of Evidence? In 1975, a federal law was enacted to codify the rules. Most states adopted rules very similar to the FRE subsequent to the federal law. The FRE are very short and simple and this is most likely why many states adopted them. Because they are only 63 relatively short provisions, they are very user-friendly. The Rules are divided into 11 different articles and the rules in a particular numbered article are then divided. For example, Relevancy and Its Limits is Article IV and there are 15 numbered rules under this article. NB – Although the FRE apply to both criminal and civil litigation, some rules are specific, by their very nature, to criminal litigation or civil litigation. D. What do the Rules do? 1. There are rules that govern the content of evidence.
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Evidence Outline a) Content is evaluated for relevance . b) Is the evidence competent ? Can one rely on it? 2. Witnesses – a lot of rules govern this. a) Competence of witnesses b) Examination of witnesses c) Types of witnesses allowed d) Credibility of witnesses 3. Substitutes for evidence: a) Judicial notice b) Stipulations - facts agreed to by both parties E. What happens at trial? 1. Jury Selection 2. Opening statement – This gives each side the opportunity to set before the jury the “story” that the ensuing proof will tell. Customarily, the party bearing the burden of persuasion – usually the plaintiff in civil cases and the prosecutor in criminal cases – has the right to make the first opening statement, and the opponent follows. 3.
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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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Evidence Outline - Evidence Outline Chapter 1 Evidence Law...

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