10-25-09 handout_on_extrinsic_evidence_and_impeachment_by_contradiction

10-25-09 handout_on_extrinsic_evidence_and_impeachment_by_contradiction

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p. 1 of 4 Handout: extrinsic evidence and impeachment by contradiction Chapter 6 Part G p. 474 deals with “impeachment by contradiction.” I will summarize what you need to know. The phrase “impeachment by contradiction” is a bit of a misnomer. “Contradiction” refers to a conflict in evidence – such as between the testimony of one witness and the testimony of another witness. For many purposes such a contradiction in testimony does not amount to “impeachment” in the law's eyes. For example, a “mere” contradiction between the testimony of one witness W-1 and another witness W-2 does not give the sponsor of W-1 a right to “rehabilitate” W-1; e.g., such a contradiction does not give W- 1's sponsor the right to introduce evidence of W-1's truthfulness. (However, a “glaring” contradiction may do so.) Even though “impeachment by contradiction” is a bit of misnomer, judges and lawyers have used this phrase. One of the reasons why judges spoke of this sort of “impeachment” is their desire to emphasize a limitation imposed by the common law collateral matter rule. Broadly stated, the collateral matter rule prohibits the use of extrinsic evidence on the question of the credibility of a witness. Judges and courts wanted to emphasize that this general exclusionary principles applies to “impeachment by contradiction.” In this context this means that testimony of W-2 that contradicts some part of the testimony of W-1 is inadmissible if the only legally-material inference
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10-25-09 handout_on_extrinsic_evidence_and_impeachment_by_contradiction

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