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South Texas College of Law Houston
Wilks, William Lee

Evidence Class Notes


Relevant – tends to prove or disprove a material fact. Does the evidnce have any influence over the fact?

Non-relevant is always non-admissible.

Is the proving power (probative value) outweighed by the predudice?

Example: A shot B.
Evidence: A attempted shooting C last week

This is relevant but not admitted b/c it is reputation testimony. A criminal D may admit, then Proc. comes back with his own.

Credibility of witness is relevant in every case.

Rules 102, 403, 611

US v. Reaves

Reaves set up coal mining co. for tax shield. Ct. set time limit to be tried. Called a “scheduling order.” Time or amount of evidence may be limited by Judge.

Policy – cause lawyers to put on strongest case. Sometimes lawyers use more evidence than needed to “camoflauge” his poor case.

See objections on pg. 7

Texas doesn’t like Judge to examine witnesses; Fed rule 614 allows it and some do it. British Judges very active.

A judge may help out the jury if he thinks something is misleading.

If a Judge asks a “bad or objectionable” question, ask to approach bench; do not object in presence of jury.


Chapter 3 Competency

Compentence of evidence not looked at now

Competence of witness

1. Must perceive something
2. Recollect
3. Communicate

Rule 601

Must look to state law for conflicts rule

Competence different from

US v. Berdonie

Murder case. D claims error b/c state witness contradicted self; bizarre- not credible, t/f incompetent.

What precludes testimony?
Moral deprivety?
Insane persons. What does insane condition of mind mean?

Children. What is a child? Not of sufficient intellect to comprehend issues.

Note2 pg59
Influence of drugs on stand can be incompetent.

rse interest. Lips sealed b/c other party dead and cannot testify.

Transaction statute – auto accident included? Should be contractual only.

HYPO: Grass cutting case – made deal to get paid for job; used to do it for free. Owner died. Want my money – dead mans rule doesn’t allow me to testify about oral K.

Could assign the claim, assignee sues, now you can testify. Cant be phoney, must be arm’s length deal.

Communication statute – (TEXAS) Now, most states have auto action statutes. No federal dead man’s rule. No application in fed question cases, but allowed in diversity cases and usu. found procedural so will use forum state law.

Judge decides competence

Missed class