Select Page

Elon University School of Law
Friedland, Steven I.

Evidence Outline
1.    Introduction to Evidence
A.          Framework
1.                Why is the evidence offered?
a.                      To prove an issue in the case AND/OR (Racing Cars Only Have Pricy Wild Wheels)
                                                                                  i.                                  Relevant
                                                                                ii.                                  Character
                                                                              iii.                                  Opinion
                                                                               iv.                                  Hearsay
                                                                                 v.                                  Privilege
                                                                               vi.                                  Witnesses
                                                                             vii.                                  Writings
b.                      To impeach a witness (Its Extra Real)
                                                                                  i.                                  Intrinsic
                                                                                ii.                                  Extrinsic
                                                                              iii.                                  Rehabilitation
B.          The Pre-Trial and Trial Process
1.                Arrest (Detained)
2.                Pre-Trial
·                         Detention
·                         Pleadings (Grand Jury Indictment or Information, similar to a civil complaint)
·                         Joinder and Severance
§                               Adding to or removing parties or charges from the case (Usually must be the same action or related actions)
·                         Motion to Dismiss
·                         Motion claiming the defendant is incompetent to proceed
·                         Motion in limine (To Suppress Evidence)
                Voir Dire–“To Tell the Truth” (Jury Selection)
§                               Motion to Strike for Cause–Unable to be fair juror (Unlimited Number)
§                               Peremptory Challenges (Limited in Number)
·                                     Challenge for No Reason, but there may not be a pattern based on the Equal Protection Clause–Race, Gender, Religion, Ethnicity
                Opening Statements
§                               May it please the court, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury…
§                               Lay out a prima facie case by telling a story
§                               Not allowed to mention the other side’s case
§                               Ask for the only just and fair verdict
                Prosecution’s Evidence– Case-in-Chief
                Defendant’s Evidence– Case-in-Chief
                Rebuttal Cases, if any
                Instructions conference
                Closing Arguments
§                               Argue credibility of witnesses
§                               Defense and Prosecution give two different stories
    Winning the Case
·                         Must be permissible to the jury/judge
·                         Must be admitted (Not Excluded)
          Offering Evidence
                Real, Representative, and Testimonial Evidence
                                                                                  i.                                  Real
·                                     Examples: Peanut Butter, Jelly, Sandwich, Knife, Forensic Evidence
                                                                                ii.                                  Representative (Could be created after the incident)
·                                     Examples: Picture, Diagram, Video, Photographs/Blueprints of the classroom
                                                                              iii.                                  Testimonial
b.                      Direct and Circumstantial
                                                                                  i.                                  Direct
·                                     Example: On the issue of whether it was raining on March 14th, Ellie testified, “I looked out my window and saw rain falling.”
                                                                                ii.                                  Circumstantial
·                                     Example: To show that a letter was received, evidence is offered that the letter was properly postmarked, addressed, and mailed.
c.                       What the Trier of Fact can Consider
                                                                                  i.                                  IN EVIDENCE
3.                Stop Them! Objection, Your Honor!
a.                      “Basis for the objection, counsel?”
b.                      We object on the grounds _________.
c.                       Attorneys: Rule 103. Rulings on Evidence
                                                                                  i.                                  Objections
§                                     Must be timely and state the specific legal grounds of objection.
§                                     If denied, make a proffer to preserve evidence.
·                                           “Your Honor, may we approach the bench…I would like to make a proffer. Had the evidence been admitted, the witness’ testimony would have shown this was the jar of peanut butter Friedland used to make the PBJ in the classroom.”
                Judges: Rule 104. Preliminary Questions
§                               Judges decide how to rule on objections based on all evidence, including inadmissible evidence, except respect to privileges.
                      Test for admissibility: Whether it is privileged or not.
                      Test for Relevancy: Sufficient to support a finding of relevancy
                                                                                   §                                  (a) is used to determine whether the rules of evidence are met (about the rules)
§                                     Is there enough evidence that shows this evidence is making a fact of consequence more or less likely?
§                                     By a preponderance of the evidence

·                                     Need peer review, lots of studies and experience for it to be more likely to be admitted.
·                                     DNA is usually allowed, hypnosis is not.
                                                                              iv.                                  Similar Occurrences, Happenings, and Events
·                                     Another event that is not the event in question (another time and possible another place).
·                                     Other occurrences must be substantially similar to the case
·                                     General Rule: Exclude because it is unfairly prejudicial
·                                     Exceptions to the Exclusion:
                                                                                                                      i.                                              Causation of accident
                                                                                                                    ii.                                              Scientific Experiments or Tests
                                                                                                                  iii.                                              Intent
                                                                                                                  iv.                                              Value of Property
                                                                                                                    v.                                              Prior Custom or Dealing
·                                     Lack of Similar Occurrences: Generally Exclude
                                                                                                                       ·                                              Rationale: This may have been the first time, or there may have been other occurrences that were not reported.
2.                Improper Character Evidence
·                          Rule 404 — Excluding Propensity Evidence: Generally Excluded because of unfair prejudice.
                                                                                  i.                                  Step 1: Is this Character Evidence?
                                                                                ii.                                  Step 2: Are the questions directed about a party or a victim.
                                                                              iii.                                  Step 3: If so, the evidence is out, unless there is an exception.