This is an extract of our Expert Evidence And Lay Opinions document, which we sell as part of our Evidence Outlines collection written by the top tier of University Of Virginia students.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Evidence Outlines. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
EXPERT EVIDENCE / LAY OPINIONS EXPERT OR LAY WITNESS?
*COMPARING facts of this case to other experiences => suggests EXPERT Expert: Testimony based on some "scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge."
*Plus factor: if witness seems to be holding themselves out as an expert "given my yrs of exp..."
-"reasoning which can only be mastered by specialists in a field" (Committee). Jury would be unable to apply the same reasoning based on the facts. Not able to determine credibility.
-(some) any specialized experiences beyond the facts of this case => expert. Ex: former narcotics gang taste-tester, expert on source of MJ. Expert. Ex: Cops stating opinions based on experiences from past cases. Specialized knowledge => Expert. But see Ayala: Not an expert (Mitch thinks he was) 1) on drug selling point, simple reasoning (but it was still specialized knowledge from prior experiences); 2) drug packaging (extreme outlier decision). Lay witness: this opinion "results from a process of reasoning familiar to everyday life" (Committee). Ex: 14 year old girl who had done cocaine 'several times' was lay witness re: whether the white powder she ate from a shoe was cocaine. Lay witness.
=>LAY OPINION a) Based on lay witness's own personal perceptions/knowledge
-Must lay a foundation for prior experiences that give knowledge. b) Rationally based on the that perception NOT 'rank speculation'
-Creepy Farmer: statements about dead body are OK ("floopsy" and cold), but not opinion on how long he had been dead. Rank speculation unless he had previous expertise (then not lay W) c) Lay opinion helpful to the fact finder?
HELPFUL: clarifies the witness's testimony OR helps determine a disputed fact Ex: clarifies when providing info through specific factual statements would be impractical, allowed to speak in plain language: "the defendant fired the gun by accident" UNHELPFUL: making a specific credibility determination that jury can make for itself
-But see Melling (Kozy): Helpful (but Mitch disagrees) 911 operator opinion on Melling's faked grief. But jury could hear tape for itself, and seems like he's relying on specialized experience. NO=>Inadmissible
Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Evidence Outlines.