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Evidence Exam Attack Outline

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Table of Contents
Trial Judge's Discretion; Standard of Review..................................................................................................2
Relevance......................................................................................................................................................3
Probative Value and Prejudice....................................................................................................................................4
Conditional Relevance................................................................................................................................................6

Hearsay..........................................................................................................................................................6
Nonhearsay Uses of Out-of-Court Statements............................................................................................................7
Implied Assertions......................................................................................................................................................9
Hearsay and Confrontation.........................................................................................................................................9
Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule.................................................................................................................................12
Prior Statements by Witnesses...................................................................................................................................12
Admissions by Opposing Parties.................................................................................................................................12
Direct Admissions........................................................................................................................................................................13
Multiple Hearsay.........................................................................................................................................................................13
Completeness..............................................................................................................................................................................14
Adoptive Admissions...................................................................................................................................................................14
Authorized Admissions................................................................................................................................................................15
Agent and Employee Admissions................................................................................................................................................15
Co-Conspirator Admissions.........................................................................................................................................................16
Admissions and the Bruton Rule.................................................................................................................................................17

Spontaneous and Contemporaneous Statements......................................................................................................18
State of Mind..............................................................................................................................................................19
The Hillmon Doctrine..................................................................................................................................................................19

Injury Reports.............................................................................................................................................................20
Recorded Recollection................................................................................................................................................20
Business Records........................................................................................................................................................21
Qualifying "Businesses"...............................................................................................................................................................22
Sources of Information................................................................................................................................................................23
Absence of Record.......................................................................................................................................................................24

Public Records............................................................................................................................................................24
Former Testimony......................................................................................................................................................26
Dying Declarations......................................................................................................................................................27
Declarations Against Interest......................................................................................................................................28
Forfeiture By Wrongdoing..........................................................................................................................................29
Residual Exception......................................................................................................................................................30
Hearsay and Due Process..........................................................................................................................................30

Character Evidence......................................................................................................................................31
Methods of Proving Character..................................................................................................................................32
Other Uses of Specific Conduct.................................................................................................................................34
Permissible Purposes..................................................................................................................................................34
Requisite Proof...........................................................................................................................................................36
Character and Habit..................................................................................................................................................36
Sexual Assault and Child Molestation.......................................................................................................................37
Character of the Victim...............................................................................................................................................37
Character of the Defendant........................................................................................................................................39

Other Forbidden Inferences.........................................................................................................................41
Subsequent Remedial Measures...............................................................................................................................41

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1 Settlement Efforts.....................................................................................................................................................42
Civil Settlements.........................................................................................................................................................42
Criminal Settlements..................................................................................................................................................43
Medical Payments and Liability Insurance................................................................................................................44

Impeachment and Rehabilitation.................................................................................................................44
Character for Untruthfulness....................................................................................................................................45
Prior Criminal Convictions..........................................................................................................................................46
Admissible and Inadmissible Convictions...................................................................................................................................46
Preserving Claims of Error...........................................................................................................................................................48

Prior Inconsistent Statements...................................................................................................................................48
Bias and Incapacity...................................................................................................................................................50
Specific Contradiction...............................................................................................................................................51
Rehabilitation...........................................................................................................................................................52
Character for Truthfulness..........................................................................................................................................53
Prior Consistent Statements.......................................................................................................................................54

Opinions, Experts, and Scientific Evidence....................................................................................................54
Lay Opinions.............................................................................................................................................................55
Expert Testimony......................................................................................................................................................56
Permissible Subjects and Scope..................................................................................................................................56
Reliability....................................................................................................................................................................58
Court-Appointed Experts.............................................................................................................................................................58
Judicial Screening of Party Approved Experts.............................................................................................................................59

Privileges.....................................................................................................................................................60
Attorney-Client Privilege...........................................................................................................................................61
Elements of the Privilege............................................................................................................................................61
Communication...........................................................................................................................................................................61
In Confidence...............................................................................................................................................................................62
Between Attorney and Client......................................................................................................................................................63
To Facilitate Legal Service...........................................................................................................................................................64

Waiver........................................................................................................................................................................ 65
Crime-Fraud Exception...............................................................................................................................................67
Spousal Privileges.....................................................................................................................................................67

Physical Evidence.........................................................................................................................................68
Authentication..........................................................................................................................................................68
Best Evidence Rule....................................................................................................................................................71
Scope and Purpose.....................................................................................................................................................73
Exceptions.................................................................................................................................................................. 73

Trial Judge's Discretion; Standard of Review
FRE 104(a). Preliminary Questions
 (a) In General. The Court must decide any preliminary questions about whether a witness is qualified, a privilege exists, or evidence is admissible. In so deciding, the court is not bound by evidence rules, except those on privilege.
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2 FRE 103. Rulings on Evidence
 (a) Preserving a Claim of Error. Party may claim error in a ruling to admit or exclude evidence only if the error affects a substantial right of the party and:
o (1) if the ruling admits the evidence, a party, on the record: (A) timely objects or moves to strike; and (B) states the specific ground, unless it was apparent from the context; or
 Under FRE 103(a)(1), an objection, if its basis is not obvious, is not preserved unless the ground is stated (Bandera).
 If party opposing admission did not object, objected on wrong ground, or failed to specify ground, appellate court will reverse only if trial judge's admission was "plain error."
o (2) if the ruling excludes the evidence, a party informs the court of its substance by an offer of proof, unless the substance was apparent from the context.
 (b) Not Needing to Renew an Objection or Offer of Proof. Once the court rules definitively on the record—either before or at trial—a party need not renew objection or offer proof to preserve a claim of error for appeal.
o FRE 103(b) provides objection resolved by definitive in limine ruling admitting evidence need not be renewed at trial (Bandera).
 (c) Court's Statement About the Ruling; Directing an Offer of Proof. Court may make any statement about character or form of evidence, objection made, and ruling.
Court may direct an offer of proof be made in question-and-answer form.
o Courts differ on degree of certainty required to find error harmless.
o Questions of law reviewed de novo. Vast majority of factual findings reviewed under abuse of discretion standard.
 (d) Preventing the Jury from Hearing Inadmissible Evidence. To the extent practicable, court must conduct jury trial so inadmissible evidence is not suggested to jury by any means.
 (e) Taking Notice of Plain Error. Court may take notice of plain error affecting substantial right, even if claim of error was not properly preserved.
o Under FRE 103(e), failure to preserve the objection means review is at most for plain error (Bandera).

Relevance
FRE 401. Test for Relevant Evidence
 Evidence is relevant if:
o (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than without evidence; and

(b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.
 The fact to be proven may be ultimate, intermediate, or evidentiary, rather than only "material" (ACN).
 The fact need not be in dispute; evidence offered to prove a point already conceded by the opponent should be excluded on the basis of such considerations as waste of time and undue prejudice under FRE 403 (ACN).

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3 FRE 402. General Admissibility of Relevant Evidence
 Relevant evidence is admissible unless any of the following provides otherwise:
US Constitution, federal statute, FRE, or other rules prescribed by Supreme Court.
Irrelevant evidence is not admissible.
o Evidence for which there is an innocent explanation is not irrelevant, just less weighty.
o Relevance can depend on the purpose for which evidence is introduced, on whether it is a criminal or civil case, and (for character evidence) on who introduces it.
Bandera v. City of Quincy, 344 F.3d 47 (1st Cir. 2003)
 W's testimony on her own experiences was relevant to show liability on the part of supervisors and pattern of knowing toleration.
 W had no "actual knowledge" of what happened to D, and testimony assessing what
D reported happened was "wholly inappropriate opinion testimony" (FRE 701),
which "should certainly not have been admitted."
Knapp v. State, 79 N.E. 1076 (Ind. 1907)
 Showing D's claims were factually baseless showed somewhere between the fact and the testimony was a liar, and given people tend to tell the truth and given D's inability to point to source, has a tendency to make it less probable D's testimony was true (i.e., less probable he really heard the man was clubbed).
United States v. Dominguez, 907 F.2d 216 (1st Cir. 1990)
 The fact D owned a gun makes guilt somewhat more probable than if he did not.
Having a good reason for owning gun, consistent with innocence, makes evidence less probative, not irrelevant.
 Additionally, P had to show D owned gun in order to show D tried to have barrel replaced. Effort to replace suggests effort to cover-up, which in turn suggests consciousness of guilt.
 This chain of inferences is weaker than if P introduced gun itself into evidence, but P
is free to introduce weak, as well as strong, evidence.
State v. Larson, 843 P.2d 777 (Mont. 1992)
 D's BAC on the day of the accident is relevant to show D's reactions and judgment were impaired.
 Comparison of D's BAC with level determined to impair ability to drive vehicle is also relevant, since it aids jury in evaluating D's level of intoxication using their experience and logic. Its probative value outweighs any prejudice to defendant.

Probative Value and Prejudice
FRE 105. Limiting Evidence That Is Not Admissible Against Other Parties or for
Other Purposes
 If the court admits evidence that is admissible against a party or for a purpose—but not against another party or for another purpose—the court, on timely request, must restrict the evidence to its proper scope and instruct the jury accordingly.
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4 The jury is presumed to have followed this cautionary instruction, and the instruction offset whatever prejudice might have arisen (Old Chief, O'Connor dissent).
o Can use FRE 403 to challenge sufficiency of limiting instructions.
FRE 403. Excluding Relevant Evidence for Prejudice, Confusion, Waste of Time,
or Other Reasons
 The court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice,
confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.
o A district court's ruling under FRE 403 will not be disturbed except for abuse of discretion (Flitcraft).
o Relevant evidence is inherently prejudicial. FRE 403 excludes only unfair prejudice, substantially outweighing probative value—lest trials be conducted on unreal, sanitized scenarios (McRae).
 "Unfair prejudice" means undue tendency to suggest decision on an improper basis, commonly an emotional one (ACN).
 Unfair surprise is not a ground for exclusion under FRE 403 (ACN).
 FRE 403 is not designed to permit court to "even out" weight of evidence, mitigate a crime, or make a contest where there is little or none (McRae).
o Probative value, not relevance, may be calculated by comparing evidentiary alternatives under FRE 403, not FRE 401 (Old Chief).
 Party's stipulation of fact is pertinent to court's discretion (Old Chief).
o Propensity evidence would be an improper basis for conviction, and is therefore subject to analysis under FRE 403 for probative value versus prejudice (Old Chief).
United States v. Noriega, 117 F.3d 1206 (11th Cir. 1997)
 Evidence admissible about fact, amounts, time and source of payment of D's work for
CIA:
 Evidence of D's content of work for CIA was not wholly irrelevant.
o Information potentially had some probative value: had D testified he received
$10m and P rebutted with evidence of $320k, evidence of services performed may have helped jury decide which is more credible on question of unexplained wealth.
 But potential for confusion was high, and probative value was relatively marginal.
o Purpose of payment does not aid significantly in determining fact and amount of such payments.
o Evidence would have shifted unduly the focus of trial from allegations of drug trafficking to matters of geo-political intrigue.
United States v. Flitcraft, 803 F.2d 184 (5th Cir. 1986)
 Documents relied upon by D would have been cumulative, and therefore have little further probative value, because D testified to documents relied upon and their contents.
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5 

Documents also presented danger of confusing jury by suggesting law is unsettled and jury should resolve doubtful questions of law.

Abernathy v. Superior Hardwoods, Inc., 704 F.2d 963 (7th Cir. 1983)
 Background noise was relevant to defense of contributory negligence.
 To be admissible—at least as a matter of law, rather than in trial judge's discretion—
the evidence must meet minimum standards of reliability.
o This recording did not meet minimum standards: microphone was not placed where P was standing when hit, nor was volume adjusted for accuracy.
 Though these points could have been brought out on cross-examination, but DJ is not required to encumber trial with evidence of slight probative value merely because cross-examination might expose its weakness. Potential undue delay and waste of time outweighs probative value.
United States v. McRae, 593 F.2d 700 (5th Cir. 1979)
 The trial court carefully reviewed P's photographic exhibits of murder, excluding some of little probative value. It admitted those important to establishing elements of the offense as bearing on D's defense of accident.
o Here is no parade of horrors. Court refuses to interfere with trial court's exercise of discretion.
United States v. Mehanna, 735 F.3d 32 (1st Cir. 2013)
 Disturbing, terrorism-related images bear on D's motive and intent in supporting terrorists.
 There is a line past which P's introduction of relevant evidence for legitimate advancement of its case goes too far. The district court gave the question careful attention, and so this court is reluctant to second-guess FRE 403 determinations.
Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172 (1997)
 Name of the previous offense is not irrelevant to the prior-conviction element of felon-in-possession, and therefore not inadmissible under FRE 402.
 For evidence to be inadmissible based on availability of alternative evidence, it must be on FRE 403 grounds.
 Propensity evidence would be an improper basis for conviction under FRE 404(b),
and is therefore subject to analysis under FRE 403 for probative value versus prejudice.
o Risk of prejudice is especially obvious when prior conviction is similar to the crime presently charged.
 Standard rule: prosecution is entitled to prove its case by traditional evidence of its own choice; D may not stipulate or admit his way out of full evidentiary force of the case as P chooses to present it.
o The standard rule has no application when the point at issue is a defendant's legal status dependent on a judgment wholly independently of the concrete events of later criminal behavior charged against him.
 In any case in which the prior conviction is for an offense likely to support conviction on some improper ground, the only reasonable conclusion is that the risk of unfair prejudice did substantially out-weigh the discounted probative value of the record of conviction.
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6 Conditional Relevance
FRE 104(b). Preliminary Questions
 (b) Relevance That Depends on a Fact. When the relevance of evidence depends on whether a fact exists, proof must be introduced sufficient to support a finding that the fact does exist. The court may admit the proposed evidence on the condition that the proof be introduced later.
o Sufficiency standard: question is not whether the preliminary fact is actually true; it is whether a reasonable jury could think it is true, given the other evidence in the case.
 In practice, if there is any evidence—even the weakest evidence—the preliminary fact exists, then the conditionally relevant evidence will be admitted, subject to regular admissibility requirements.
o The order of proof here, as generally, is subject to control of the judge (ACN).
State v. McNeely, 8 P.3d 212 (Or. 2000)
 W testified he spoke to a man who admitted to killing victim. If D were that man,
then W's testimony is relevant.
 Despite W's inability to identify D at trial, trial court determined a reasonable juror could find D was the person with whom W spoke in jail.
o W's inability to identify D went to the weight the jury might give to W's testimony, not to the testimony's admissibility.

Hearsay
FRE 801. Definitions That Apply to This Article; Exclusions From Hearsay
 (a) Statement. "Statement" means a person's oral assertion, written assertion, or nonverbal conduct, if the person intended it as an assertion.
 (b) Declarant. "Declarant" means the person who made the statement.
 (c) Hearsay. "Hearsay" means a statement that:
o (1) the declarant does not make while testifying at the current trial or hearing;
and

(2) a party offers in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.
 Professor's definition: "Hearsay is an out-of-court statement introduced to prove the truth of the matter asserted."
o "The matter asserted" means matter asserted by the declarant, not by the party.
o "Introduced to prove" means any step in the chain of inferences; it needn't be the first or ultimate step.
 It doesn't matter how the out-of-court statement itself is proven.
o Witness and declarant can be the same person: when the witness testifies about a statement he made outside of court.
 The witness needn't be a person (it could be a diary), but the declarant must be a live person.
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