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Evidence
Charleston School of Law
Finkel, Gerald M.

EVIDENCE
Presentation of evidence
Introduction of evidence
Requirement of personal knowledge
Refreshing recollection
Objections and offers of proof
Lay opinions
Competency of witnesses
Judicial notice
Roles of judge and jury
Limited admissibility
Contradiction
B.     Presumptions
C.     Mode and order
1.      Control by court
2.      Scope of examination
3.      Form of questions
4.      Exclusion of witnesses
D.     Impeachment, contradiction, and rehabilitation
1.      Inconsistent statements and conduct
2.      Bias and interest
3.      Conviction of crime
4.      Specific instances of conduct
5.      Character for truthfulness
6.      Ability to observe, remember, or relate accurately
7.      Impeachment of hearsay declarants
8.      Rehabilitation of impeached witnesses
E.      Proceedings to which evidence rules apply
 
Relevancy and reasons for excluding relevant evidence  
A.     Probative value
1.      Relevancy
                                                                                 i.            Watch out for evidence that is of another time, event or person
                                                                               ii.            Exclusion for unfair prejudice, confusion, undue delay, misleading jury, cumulative evidence or waste of time
a.       Judge has discretion to allow. “Unfair surprise” is not a justifiable reason.
                                                                              iii.            Logical relevance –
a.       Similar occurrences (exception to the different time, event or person rule)
                                                                                                                                 i.            To prove cause and effect – other peope got sick eating food at restaurant
                                                                                                                               ii.            Prior accidents or claims – GR: prior accidents or claims not admissible, EXCEPT
1.      To show common plan & scheme of fraud
2.      If prior accidents or claims are relevant to damage of the P
3.      Other accidents involving same instrumentality – GR: they are admissible to show notice, knowledge, or a defective and dangerous condition
                                                                                                                              iii.            Intent or state of mind in issue – to infer intent from prior conduct
                                                                                                                             iv.            Rebuttal evidence – to rebut the defense of impossibility
                                                                                                                               v.            Comparable sales to establish value – sale price of other chattels or parcels of real property admissible if
1.      Those other parcels are the same general description
2.      Same time
3.      Same general geographic area
                                                                                                                             vi.            Habit evidence – not disposition or prior act evidence. Key descriptive words are:
1.      Specificity (specific detailed conduct), AND
2.      Recurrence (occurs very often)
                                                                                                                                                                                 i.            Always
                                                                                                                                                                               ii.            Instinctively
                                                                                                                                                                              iii.            Invariably
                                                                                                                                                                             iv.            Automatically
                                                                                                                            vii.            Business routine
                                                                                                                          viii.            Industrial or tr

be a claim – at least an “eye toward litigation”
2.      The claim must be disputed as to either liability or amount
3.      An offer to pay medical expenses is not admissible even though it is not a settlement offer. But if an admission of fact accompanies a naked offer to pay medical expenses, the admission may be admitted.
                                                                               v.            Character Evidence
a.       What is the purpose of the evidence
                                                                                                                                 i.            Character may be directly at issue
1.      You can use specific acts, opinion or reputation
                                                                                                                               ii.            Character as circumstantial evidence of a person’s conduct at time of litigated event (character evidence to prove conduct in conformity with character on occasion in issue)
1.      Opinion and reputation only
                                                                                                                              iii.            Character to impeach the credibility of a witness (i.e., bad character for truthfulness to impeach the credibility of a witness who testifies at trial)
1.      Can use specific acts, opinion or reputation
b.      Civil trials
                                                                                                                                 i.            Character evidence is not admissible when offered as circumstantial evidence to infer conduct at the time of the litigated event.
Character evidence is admissible in a civil case when the character of a person (party) is itself a material issue in the case.