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© 2009 CCH. All Rights Reserved. Chapter 9 105 Chapter 9 Proper Evidence Management CHAPTER SUMMARY Overview This chapter explains the basic rules of evidence, examines basic evidence issues that affect accountants when performing litigation services, explains what needs to be done to preserve the integrity of evidence and make sure it is admissible at trial, and discusses various types of technology that can help accountants gather evidence. Basic Rules of Evidence ¶9001 What Are the Rules of Evidence? The rules of evidence are the rules governing the admissibility of evidence in a legal proceeding and the weight to be given to evidence that is admitted. The U.S. federal courts follow the Federal Rules of Evidence. State courts usually follow their own rules. ¶9011 What Is Evidence? Evidence is testimony, writings, and material objects offered to prove an alleged fact or proposition. Evidence other than oral testimony is sometimes referred to as real evidence . There are two basic types of evidence: direct and circumstantial. Although the media often deride circumstantial evidence, the law does not value it any less than direct evidence. Direct evidence is evidence that directly proves a fact at issue, without the need for any inference or presumption. The most common form of direct evidence is testimony based on a witness’s personal knowledge or observation of facts in controversy. Circumstantial evidence is evidence from which a fact at issue may be proved indirectly. ¶9021 Process for Determining the Admissibility of Evidence The evidence that a fact f nder may use to support a f nding is determined through a process of admission and exclusion based on offers by the proponent and, sometimes, objections by the opponent. In addition to offering evidence, a proponent may make an offer of proof in order to make a record on appeal to show that substantial prejudice resulted from exclusion of particular evidence. For evidence to be admissible, sometimes a speci f c factual foundation is required. Under the concept of judicial notice, a court can take as proven certain matters that are considered indisputable; matters of common knowledge; and certain ascertainable facts from unquestionably accurate sources, such as a calendar, road map, or government mortality table. ¶9031 Relevance Requirement To be admissible in court, evidence must be relevant . Circumstantial Evidence. Evidence can prove a fact directly, such as direct testimony that states the fact to be proved. However, evidence does not have to prove an issue directly but instead may be part of a chain of inferences. This type of evidence is called circumstantial evidence. In f ammatory Evidence. Although evidence may be logically relevant, its probative value may be outweighed by the likelihood that the jury will use it for a purpose that is improper, such as a conscious or unconscious bias against a party. This action often happens with evidence that tends to show that the party engaged in some sort of immoral or illegal conduct that is in and of itself irrelevant to an issue in the case.
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2012 for the course ACCT 555 taught by Professor Briggs during the Spring '11 term at University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson.

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