Evidence– Professor Richmond
I Reasons for Evidence Rules
A Timeà rules of relevance make judicial process more $$$ & time efficient
B Privacy à rules of privacy protect persons against unnecessary personally intrusions
C Scruples à criminal prosecution restrictions
D Adversarial System à hearsay rules force those who provide testimony to come before court & allow the accused to cross-exam
E Lay Fact-Finder à jury lacks expertise & experience in the law & rules allow for credible expert testimony
1Overall FRE policy à Admit anything that is probative unless it negates other reasons
II General Rules
A Rule 101 – Scope
1Federal Rules of Evidence govern all proceedings in US federal courts.
B Rule 102 – Purpose
1Rules shall be construed to secure fairness in administration, elimination of unjustifiable expense & delay, and promotion of growth & development of the law of evidence to the end that truth may be ascertained & proceedings justly determined.
i Fair + Efficient ($$$ & time)
III Sources of Evidence Law
A Common Law
B Federal Rules
A General Rules of Relevancy & Admission of Relevant Evidenceà
1 Rule 401 à Definition of “Relevant Evidence”
2 Rule 402 à Relevant Evidence Generally Admissible / Irrelevant Evidence Never Admissible
3 Rule 403 à Exclusion of Relevant Evidence on Grounds of Prejudice, Confusion, or Waste of Time
II Basic Principles
A Relevance v. Materiality
a = relationship between evidenceANDtarget proposition
a = relationship between target propositionAND claims/defenses
(i) *Substantive law determines what is material
2 Rule 401 – Definition of “Relevant Evidence”
i Relevant evidence means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable OR less probable that it would be w/out the evidence.
3 Test: Relevancy
i Does the evidence change the probability of any material proposition?
a Does the evidence needle move in any manner?
(i) Evidence that moves the needle = relevant
1. butà this movement must regard a “material” (“of consequence”) proposition to be both relevant & material
a. *very broad test
b *key to admission of evidence is explaining “relevance” à then connecting (materiality) to the issues in the case
B Admissibility of Relevant Evidence
1 Rule 402 – Relevant Evidence Generally Admissible & Irrelevant Evidence Inadmissible
i All relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided US Constitution of the United States / Act of Congress / Fed Rules of Evidence / or rules of Supreme Court.
ii Evidence which is NOT relevant is NOT admissible.
1 Rule 401
i Compare Probabilities
a Admitted evidence does NOT have to be “sufficient”
party OR purpose is admitted à parties can request the judge to limit the scope of the evidence & instruct the jury according to the proper use of the evidence.
i Grants parties the right to ask for limiting instructions to be given by the judge to the jury in order to prevent undue prejudice
III Counterweights to Relevance
A General Balancing Rule
1 Rule 403 – Exclusion of Relevant Evidence
i All relevant evidence may be excluded “if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.”
2 Test: 403 Balancing Test
i Judge weighs probative value of information against dangers ofà
a Unfair Prejudice
b Confusion of Issues
c Probability of Misleading of Jury
ii Judge weighs probative value of information against considerations ofà
a Undue Delay
b Waste of Time or $$$
c Cumulative Nature of Evidence
(i) *surprise is NOT included
iii = “dangers AND considerations” must substantially outweigh “probative value” to be excluded as evidence
3 Judge’s Discretion