Lessons: Evidence

This exercise is designed to guide the student through the basics of the best evidence/original document rule under the federal rules. The exercise progresses logically through the rule. In order, it looks at the definition of “writing, recording, or photograph,” the concept of proving “content of a writing,” the definition of “original” and “duplicate,” proof of “collateral” matters, material in possession of the opposite party, computer printouts, compilations, secondary evidence (Is there a “second best evidence” rule?), and the division of function between the judge and jury.

The exercise does not touch on Public Records (FRE 1005) or on Testimony or Written Admission of Party (FRE 1007). These are left for students to read on their own.

30 minutes
EVD09

This exercise deals with attack and support of the character of parties, victims, and witnesses; the use of reputation and opinion testimony as character evidence; and the admissibility of other crimes, wrongs, or acts as evidence falling outside the general ban on character evidence.

Part of the exercise is a simulated trial in which students are asked to decide whether to object to certain questions asked on direct or cross-examination. In a subsequent section, students play the role of judge and rule on objections. Other sections of the exercise require students to respond to questions about factual hypotheticals.

2 hours
EVD04

Students are given hypothetical fact situations and asked whether the testimony offered would be hearsay. The exercise provides practice in applying the concept that an utterance is hearsay if it is offered to show the truth of matters asserted therein. It contains examples of utterances that are not hearsay because they are offered to show their effect upon the auditor, because they are legally operative language, or because they are offered as circumstantial evidence of the declarant’s state of mind. Questions about the hearsay status of nonverbal conduct are also included. The exercise deals only with the concept of hearsay, not with exceptions to the hearsay rule.

The questions and text used in this exercise are different from those in the exercise entitled Hearsay From Square One: The Definition of Hearsay, so both exercises can be used by the same student without duplication. If both exercises are used, the author recommends that Hearsay from Square One be used first.

1 - 3 hours (student option).
EVD01

This lesson explores the constitutional rules requiring confrontation of hearsay declarants in criminal prosecutions, with special emphasis on Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), and its progeny.

30 to 40 minutes
CRMPRO11

This lesson is part of another CALI lesson "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules." That lesson was divided into three parts for students who wish to cover the material in smaller modules. This lesson prepares the student for material covered in the final two modules, "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 2: Statements and What They Assert" and "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 3: Hearsay Arguments."

In this lesson, "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part I: Substantive Rules and Hearsay Dangers" the focus is on basic, non-controversial distinctions between hearsay and non-hearsay, which should be correct in any jurisdiction.

1.25 hours
EVD10_1

This lesson is part of another CALI lesson "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules." That lesson was divided into three parts for students who wish to cover the material in smaller modules. This lesson builds on material covered in the first module, "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 1: Substantive Rules and Hearsay Dangers" and prepares the student for material covered in the final module, "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 3: Hearsay Arguments."

In this lesson, the focus is on more difficult and controversial topics in the application of the hearsay rules and the definition of hearsay, particularly issues pertaining to implied assertions. This part 2 focuses on the typical resolution of those questions under the Federal Rules of Evidence.

1 hour
EVD10_2

This lesson is part of another CALI lesson "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules." That lesson was divided into three parts for students who wish to cover the material in smaller modules. This lesson builds on the material covered in the first two modules, "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 1: Substantive Rules and Hearsay Dangers" and "The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 2: Statements and What They Assert."

Part 3 introduces students to alternative approaches to the definition of hearsay, and their relation to the Federal Rules of Evidence. In the second part of this lessons, Arguments from the Approaches, presents a number of hypothetical problems. In each case, the lesson asks students to assess whether particular sorts of analysis support an argument about the application of the definition of hearsay.

1.5 hours
EVD10_3

This lesson is now divided into three parts. See CALI lessons
The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 1: Substantive Rules and Hearsay Dangers

The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 2: Statements and What They Assert

The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 3: Hearsay Arguments.

The first section of this lesson, Baseline Hearsay, is designed to introduce students to the definition of hearsay in the Federal Rules of Evidence, as the courts typically apply it. This part of the lesson covers Substantive Rules and Hearsay Dangers, which deals with basic, non-controversial distinctions under the rules, and Statements and What They Assert, which addresses more difficult and controversial questions, particularly issues pertaining to implied assertions.

The second section, Hearsay Arguments, focuses on the underpinnings of the hearsay definition and on less conventional understandings of that definition. It is especially useful for students enrolled in advanced evidence and trial practice courses. In the first part of this section, Four Additional Approaches, students are introduced to alternative approaches to the definition of hearsay. The second part of this section, Arguments from the Approaches, presents a number of hypothetical problems. In each case, the program asks students to assess whether particular sorts of analysis support an argument about the application of the definition of hearsay.

5 hours
EVD10

This exercise applies hypotheticals to situations involving expert witnesses. Analysis relies primarily on the Federal Rules of Evidence. Expert testimony in both civil and criminal contexts is covered, as the exercise consists of two trials: the first is a civil case, the second a criminal prosecution. The challenge of understanding expert opinion law is addressed through a series of problems which raise issues of qualifying experts to give opinions, the proper bases for expert opinion, admissibility of fee information, cross-examination of experts, opinions on questions of law, and other applications.

45 minutes
EVD05

This exercise is the counterpart of The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules, which covers the definition of hearsay under Federal Rules of Evidence 801(a)-(c). The new exercise includes graphic reviews of each subsection of 801(d), and graphic illustrations of multiple hearsay, as well as interactive flowcharts for the subsections of 801(d). The program lends itself to use by students who either (i) want a relatively quick-review, with detailed work limited to those issues they find troublesome or (ii) want to review each relevant section of the rules in some detail. Those who wish to use the exercise to check their knowledge, and review only troublesome sections in detail, should follow the relevant strategies outlined in the READ ME section of the exercise. Students who wish to review 801(d) or multiple hearsay (Rule 805) in detail, will find a series of problems on each subsection of 801(d) and on 805, and review questions.

25 to 90 minutes, depending on the individual student's approach to the exercise.
EVD15

This exercise covers these four, most commonly used, specific exceptions to the Hearsay rule: 1) Present sense impressions; 2) Excited utterances; 3) State of Mind; and 4) Business records. The student will be applying these four exceptions in the context of scenarios presenting hypotheticals. The student's goal in this lesson is to work with the four exceptions, to gain a basic understanding of them with a focus on those fundamentals and problem areas identified in the FRE's Advisory Committee's Notes, recent judicial decisions, and legal commentators. The student will identify, examine, and explore specific problem areas within each exception.

45 minutes, assuming prior basic understanding of the hearsay rule and the exceptions.
EVD14

This exercise is designed to introduce students to the broad range of exceptions available under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Using hypothetical fact situations, students are asked to assume the role of the judge and to rule on the applicability of Federal Rules of Evidence 803 and 804. The exercise requires students to know the proper application of each exception and to also understand the reason underlying each exception to the federal rules. Each section covers a separate sub-rule of either F.R.E. 803 or 804. Thus, the lesson is suitable as a review for students who have completed their study, or to reinforce classroom coverage of the rules throughout the semester.

3 hours
EVD13

This lesson deals with the definition of hearsay under the Federal Rules of Evidence. It is a self-contained exercise that requires no prior knowledge or reference to outside material. It can be used as preparation before the topic of hearsay has been reached in the classroom, or as review after hearsay has been covered in class.

The exercise contains expository text followed by questions and responses. Its topics include statements offered as circumstantial evidence of the declarant’s state of mind, utterances offered as legally operative language, and other utterances that are not hearsay under the definition set forth in Fed. R. Evid. 801 (c). The exercise uses a variety of examples to illustrate the concept of hearsay as a statement offered to prove its truth.

The questions and text used in this exercise are different from those in the exercise entitled The Concept of Hearsay, so both exercises can be used by the same student without duplication. If both exercises are used, the author recommends that the present exercise (Hearsay from Square One) be used first.

45 minutes
EVD08

This exercise is based on a simulated trial in which the user is asked to rule on hearsay objections and to give reasons for the rulings. The exercise was composed under a grant from the Federal Judicial Center, which has used it, along with the Character Evidence exercise, as part of its training program for incoming federal judges. It is suitable for students who have completed their study of the hearsay rule and who know something about the rules relating to impeachment and crossexaminations.

1 hour
EVD02

This exercise begins with a transcript of the direct examination of a government witness in a criminal action. The direct examination will be followed by a crossexamination, and the student is asked to rule on objections to impeachment questions by the crossexaminer. The student will be asked “remedial questions” after the completion of the first phase of this exercise if certain questions are erroneously answered. The lesson focuses on permissible and impermissible impeachment concepts under the Federal Rules of Evidence. The exercise was composed under a grant from the Federal Judicial Center as part of its training program for incoming federal judges.

1 hour
EVD07

This lesson is an analytical guide to the study of two major aspects of evidence: relevance and hearsay. The vehicle used by this guide is a step by step, nine question analysis, applicable to any admissibility of evidence problem. This lesson should help one determine whether any item of evidence is admissible under the rules of evidence pertaining to relevance and hearsay. The answers to the first four questions determine whether any item of proffered evidence is admissible under the two components of relevancy: logical and legal relevancy. If the evidence in question is a statement, then the answers to questions five through nine will determine whehter the evidence is admissible under the rules of hearsay.

1.5 hours
EVD16

Articles II through X of the Federal Rules set out substantive evidentiary tests and standards. However, a student's understanding of those tests and standards is incomplete unless the student appreciates the procedural framework within which those provisions operate. Federal Rules 104(a) and 104(b) are the fulcrum of that framework. Those subdivisions codify the distinction between competence and conditional relevance issues. The subdivisions govern such vital questions as whether the opponent may conduct voir dire in support of an objection, whether the trial judge may consider the credibility of the proponent's foundational testimony, how the trial judge instructs the jury, and whether the factual issue is ultimately submitted to the jury.

This lesson focuses on Rules 104(a) and 104(b). The first part of the lesson familiarizes the student with the key procedural differences between 104(a) and 104(b). It reviews all major facets of the problem, including the special procedures used when a preliminary fact coincides with a fact of consequence on the merits of the case. The second part of the lesson is an intensive drill giving the student extensive experience in classifying foundational facts as falling under either 104(a) or 104(b). Part two is divided into subparts, each subpart concerning a different article of the Federal Rules. Thus, there are separate subparts devoted to the foundational facts posed by the doctrines set out in Articles VI (credibility) and VII (opinion). Part two is divided into subparts to allow the professor to use the drill to directly reinforce the classroom discussion; the division of part two into subparts enables the student to do the relevant part of the drill after the professor has completed the discussion of the F.R.E. article. Hence, the professor can cover the articles and assign the subparts in the sequence which he or she believes makes the most pedagogic sense.

1.5 hours
EVD12

This lesson introduces the student to the doctrine and processes involved in interpreting state and federal statutes. Statutes are a critical part of every substantive area of the law, so this is important background for every law student, lawyer and judge.

30 minutes
LCS03

Students are placed in the role of judge and asked to rule on objections. The case is a civil action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained when an automobile driven by Plaintiff was involved in an intersection collision with an automobile driven by Defendant.

1 hour
EVD03

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