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St. Thomas University, Minneapolis School of Law
Garcia, Alfredo

Evidence Checklist

I.                   General Principles
a.       Rationale for Rules
i.      Mistrust of Juries
ii.      Substantive Policies—subject matter of the litigation
1.        burdens of proof
iii.      External Policies not related to subject matter of litigation
1.        privileges
iv.      Discern the Truth
v.      Efficiency
b.      Scope of Direct
i.      Cross examination limited to matters explored on Direct examination
ii.      Depending on whose side you represent, matters explored on direct are
1.        facts in direct
2.       Transaction or Occurrence in Direct
3.       Issue presented in direct
4.       Credibility
c.       Objections
i.      Timely and Specific 103(a)(1)
ii.      Motions in limine made before trial in anticipation of an objection to the evidence you are offering OR anticipating an objection to evidence opposing counsel is going to offer
1.        Once a ruling is made, 103(a)(2) provides that the party need not renew the objection during trial
iii.      Offers of Proof 103(a)(2)
1.        where court’s ruling excludes evidence, proponent of the evidence can offer substance as if he were allowed to in order to preserve the record for appeal
a.       sidebar OR
b.       question and answer form outside presence of jury 103(c)
d.      Errors and Review
i.      evidence excluded or admitted must have effected the outcome
1.        outcome affected beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases
2.       outcome affected by a preponderance of the evidence in civil cases
ii.      Types of error
1.        reversible
2.       plain
3.       harmless
4.       constitutional
iii.      Trumps Error
1.        cumulative evidence doctrine
2.       harmless error
3.       curative instructions
iv.      Burden of proof to show error
1.        record preserved AND
2.       outcome affected according to criminal or civil standards
v.      Burden of Proof to show no error
1.        record was not preserved by timely and specific objections
2.       if evidence excluded, no offer of proof was made

II.                Relevance
a.       Logical 401
i.      evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any consequential fact more probably or less probable than it would without the evidence

g are offered by one party, the adverse party, at that time, May demand the remainder of the writing or recording to provide context
f.       Shortness of Life
i.      court can exclude evidence for practical reasons
g.       Probabilistic Proof
i.      Mathematical probabilities to prove guilt are inadmissible
1.        usurps the jury function
ii.      Probabilistic analysis may be used to identify a body when not a material issue in the case
iii.      probabilistic proof might be proper if there are actual probabilities AND jury confusion would be limited

III.            Relevancy of Character: Character evidence is generally inadmissible unless the following apply
a.       General Character of D
i.      Character of the D admissible if D raises good character trait of himself or bad character trait of the victim
1.        in either case, the prosecution can offer bad character of the D to rebut
on cross, prosecution can question witness as to prior crimes showing the bad character of the D