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Evidence-Wellborn SU2006 Outline

Evidence-Wellborn SU2006 Outline - Evidence Outline Summer...

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Evidence Outline: Summer 2006 General History behind the Rules of Evidence: ` Early Codifications: Prior to the mid-1970’s pretty much all evidentiary rules were judge – made; they were a product of the common law. Early effort to codify the rules of evidence, the ALI’s 1942 Model Code of Evidence, was not adopted anywhere. Similarly, the Uniform Rules of Evidence, drafted by the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and published in 1954, were influential but adopted in only a few jurisdictions. Present Codes: United States Supreme Court developed rules of evidence for use in the federal courts Federal Rules of Evidence The rules were substantially revised and then adopted by Congress, effective July 1, 1975 o Normally when US court promulgates rules of procedure under the REA they have to send them to Congress and then if Congress doesn’t intervene within 6 months, they are made into law. (So long as the rules do not abridge, enlarge, or modify any substantive right of any litigant) o Congress rarely uses the power, but in the case of evidence, Congress exercised its authority to forestall the rules promulgated by the Court. o House wanted liberal rules, Senate wanted conservative rules…liked what the advisory committee did. o Ended up with two bills and then had to compromise!! Middlegroud sometimes resulted in a rule that was not a rule that any would want; not a rule that any rational person would support! Most states have now adopted evidence codes using the federal code as a model. o Texas had a bifurcation of evidence doctrine depending on whether you were dealing with a civil or a criminal case: Texas Rules of Civil Evidence adopted in 1983 Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence adopted in 1986 These two rules merged in the late 90’s Note: Wellborn thinks the merger was a bad idea! What Went into the Codes? Basically a codification of existing common law evidentiary principles. Every re-writing or reform in evidence law has tended to move towards more admissibility – less technicality, less restriction LET THE LIGHT COME IN! o In civil cases, greater admissibility is a bit of a standoff (Ex: Poor plaintiff versus corporate defendant in tort case) Plaintiff has burden therefore more admissibility is good for plaintiffs. Defense has more resources, therefore more admissibility is good for defendants. o In criminal cases, greater admissibility disfavors the defendant. Plaintiff has the burden and normally has the resources as well. Exceptions: Rare instances where defendants have ample resources (OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, Enron etc.) General Principles: If state law applies – apply state rules of evidence If federal law applies – apply federal rules of evidence Chapter One: Relevancy RELEVANCY – Article IV
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Note: Relevancy is the most foundational concept of evidence law.
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