I. INTRODUCTION: MAKING THE RECORD
A. Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE)
1. Before the mid 20th century, the law of evidence was common law. In 1975, Congress adopted the FRE. These rules apply only in federal courts, but most states have adopted similar rules.
B. 3 Aspects of Evidence
1. Rules of Admissibility/Exclusion
a. Rules that define those facts which a decision maker can consider.
b. Rules act by excluding certain evidence.
2. Rules of Technique
a. Rules that govern the manner in which evidence is presented to the decision maker.
3. Rules of Evaluation
a. Rules that govern the use/manner of evidence by the decision maker.
Roadmap for the Rest of the Course:
Dominated by one facet of our judicial systemàthe jury
Much of the content of these rules can be explained by keeping these items of evidence from the jury
1) Rule excluding irrelevant evidence
Facts that cannot possibly be of any assistance to the decision makerà”no probative value”
In theory it doesn’t impede the search for truth
Rule excluding irrelevant evidence must be ruled upon by the trial judge
Just one subpart of the rule of irrelevant evidence
Relevance of the evidence hinges on its authenticityàits genuineness
Authentication and relevance are always joined
KEY: Conditional relevance
2) Rules Excluding Even Relevant Evidence
Best Evidence Rule
Prejudice, Confusion, Waste of Time [Rule 403] Hearsay Rule
§ Rule Excluding Opinion
II. RULE EXCLUDING IRRELEVANT EVIDENCE: MEANING OF “RELEVANCE”
A. FRE 402 – RELEVANT EVIDENCE
1. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible.
2. The sponsoring lawyer must articulate why a question/answer is relevant.
3. Chain of reasoning:
+ —————–à B) Conclusion
M) Premise + ————————-à C) Proposition to be Proved
N) Premise #2
a. This diagram only works if we can accept M and N as true.
b.Relevancy must be analyzed by a piece of evidence and its relation with a
her admissible or not
5. Relevance is an undemanding threshold
III. AUTHENTICATION AS A FOUNDATION TO RELEVANCE; PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS
A. PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS
1. Whenever a court rules on whether a sufficient FOUNDATION has been laid, the court is deciding a PRELIMINARY QUESTION.
2. There are two types of preliminary questions:
a. FRE 104(b)(Relevancy)
1. When the RELEVANCY of evidence depends upon the fulfillment of a condition of fact, the court shall admit it upon, or subject to, the introduction of evidence sufficient to support a finding of the fulfillment of the condition.