6 opinion and expert testimony rule 501 opinion

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6. OPINION AND EXPERT TESTIMONY Rule 501: OPINION TESTIMONY BY NON-EXPERTS . Witnesses who are not testifying as experts may give opinions which are based on what they saw or heard and are helpful in explaining their story. A witness may not testify to any matter of which the witness has no personal knowledge, nor may a witness give an opinion about how the case should be decided. In addition, a non-expert witness may not offer opinions as to any matters that would require specialized knowledge, training, or qualifications. Example: (General Opinion) The attorney asks the non-expert witness, “Why is there so much conflict in the Middle East?” This question asks the witness to give his general opinion on the Middle East conflict.
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42 11/19/14 Note: This question is objectionable because the witness lacks personal perceptions as to the conflict in the Middle East and any conclusions regarding this issue would require specialized knowledge. Objection: “Objection. Counsel is asking the witness to give an opinion.” Example: (Lack of Personal Knowledge) The attorney asks the witness, “Why do you think Abe skipped class?” This question requires the witness to speculate about Abe’s reasons for skipping class. Objection: Objection. The witness has no personal knowledge that would enable him/her to answer this question.” Example: (Opinion on Outcome of Case) The attorney asks the witness, “Do you think the defendant intended to commit the crime?” This question requires the witness to provide a conclusion that is directly at issue and relates to the outcome of the case. Objection: “Objection. The question asks the witness to give a conclusion that goes to the finding of the Court.”
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43 11/19/14 Rule 502: OPINION TESTIMONY BY EXPERTS . Only persons qualified as experts may give opinions on questions that require special knowledge or qualifications. An expert may be called as a witness to render an opinion based on professional experience. The attorney for the party for whom the expert is testifying must qualify the witness as an expert. This means that before the expert witness can be asked for an expert opinion, the questioning attorney must bring out the expert’s qualifications, education and/or experience. Example: The attorney asks the witness, an auto mechanic, “Do you think Luke’s recurrent, severe migraine headaches could have caused him to crash his car into the side of George’s house?” Objection: “Objection. Counsel is asking the witness to give an expert opinion for which the witness has not been qualified.” However, a doctor can provide an expert opinion on how migraine headaches affect eyesight. 7. PHYSICAL EVIDENCE Rule 601: INTRODUCTION OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE . Physical evidence may be introduced if it is relevant to the case. Physical evidence will not be admitted into evidence until it has been identified and shown to be authentic or its identification and/or authenticity have been stipulated to. That a document is “authentic” means only that it is what it appears to be, not that the statements in the document are necessarily true.
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  • Spring '17
  • mrs callman
  • attorney, new york state

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