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Evidence
University of Toledo School of Law
Eisler, Beth A.

Evidence
 
Introduction
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  
1       Overall FRE policy à Admit anything that is probative unless it negates other reasons
 
II             General Rules
A        Rule 101 – Scope
1       Federal Rules of Evidence govern all proceedings in US federal courts.
B         Rule 102 – Purpose
1       Rules 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
C        Statutes
D        Constitution
 
 
Relevance
I                Introduction
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
1       Definitions
i         Relevance  
a        = relationship between evidenceANDtarget proposition
ii        Materiality
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.
C        Standard
1       Rule 401
i         Compare Probabilities
a        Admitted evidence does NOT have to be “sufficient”
(i)       Ex: sufficiency is the wall à relevancy is the brick
b       Compare probability of proposition w/ the evidence AGAINST the probability of the proposition w/out the evidence
(i)       If probabilities are the same à NOT relevant
(ii)      If probabilities are different à relevant
c        Logical Relevance =
(i)       Evidence having any tendency in logic to establish a proposition
d       Legally Relevance =
(i)       Evidence whose probative value is great enough to justify delay, expense, prejudice, or confusion that is involved in its consideration
D        Direct v. Circumstantial
1       Direct =
i         Requires fewer inferences to get to target proposition
a        Does NOT necessarily mean strong
2       Circumstantial = (Indirect)
i         Requires more inferences to get to target proposition
a        Does NOT necessarily mean weak
E        Conditional Relevance
1       Conditional Evidence =
i         Evidence that depends on other evidence
2       Rule 104(b) – Relevancy Conditioned on Fact
i         When the relevancy of evidence depends upon the fulfillment of a condition of fact, the court shall admit it upon the introduction of “evidence sufficient to support a finding” of the fulfillment of the condition.
3       Test: Conditional Relevancy
i         How much evidence is required?
a        “evidence sufficient to support a finding”
(i)       Judge ONLY must believe that a ® juror could make such a conclusion & believe the proposition  
1.       *Low standard
ii        Result of Test?
a        If passes à judge admits evidence for the time being
(i)       Attorney still must “connect up” later or the evidence will not be admitted
b       If fails à judge will grant a directed verdict  
F         Limited Admissibility
1       Rule 105 – Limited Admissibility
i         When evidence which is admissible as to one party OR purpose, but NOT admissible as to another 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.
2       Summary:
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
i         Judge has discretion in admitting OR excluding evidence 
a        Standard: Reversal of Judge’s 403 Decision
(i)       “clear abuse of discretion”
B         Definitions  
1       Prejudice =
i         Possibility that evidence will be misused by jury in making an improper inf

le consideration in compromising/attempting to compromise a claim which was disputed as to either validity OR amount à
b       is NOT admissible to prove “liability for” OR “invalidity of the claim” OR its “amount.”
ii        Evidence of “conduct OR statements” made in compromise negotiations are NOT admissible.
iii       Exceptions:
a        This rule does NOT require exclusion when the evidence is “offered for another purpose,” such as à
(i)       proving bias OR prejudice of a witness,
OR
(ii)      negating a contention of undue delay,
OR
(iii)     proving an effort to obstruct a criminal investigation/prosecution.
2       Summary
i         ANY evidence of statements/conduct/offers/promises/etc. from a compromise negotiation are NOT admissible
ii        Can NOT use compromise evidence to prove à
a        liability of party
b       validity of claim
c        value/amount of claim
iii       Exceptions:
a        Does NOT exclude otherwise discoverable b/c it is presented in the course of compromise negotiations
(i)       Can NOT hide facts of case by bringing them up in compromise negotiations
1.       However à opponent can NOT prove facts when brought up in compromise negotiations but à can be alerted to fact AND use discovery mechanism to later prove in court  
b       Does NOT exclude evidence offered for another purpose such as proving à
(i)       Bias / Prejudice of witness for impeachment
1.       Impeachment value must be weighed against prejudicial effect
(ii)      Proving effort to obstruct a criminal investigation or prosecution
(iii)     Negating contention of undue delay
c        Does NOT exclude evidence of negotiations when à
(i)       c/a is based on the settlement agreement itself
(ii)      c/a is based on tortious conduct which took place during compromise negotiations
3       Must have to be Applicableà
i         Claim =
a        Must have a claim
(i)       Party must be demanding something from another party through a cause of action
b       Must be dispute as to amount OR validity 
ii        Compromise =
a        Must be a compromise negotiation as to a legal claim
(i)       Statements made in business negotiations do not fall under excluded evidence of this rule
1.       *timing of compromise negotiations matter to this determination
D        Payment of Medical Bills & Similar Expenses
1       Rule 409 – Payment of Medical & Similar Expenses
i         Evidence of furnishing or offering to furnish payment of medical or similar expenses occasioned by an injury is NOT admissible to prove liability for injury.
2       Purpose
i         Want to protect the good nature of people (“Good Samaritan” rule)