Federal Rules of Evidence - Chapter 1

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Federal Rules of Evidence - Chapter 1
2013-11-24 12:14:09
Rules Evidence

Federal Rules of Evidence - Chapter 1
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  1. FRE 401
    • Test for Relevant Evidence:
    • Evidence is relevant if (2 parts):

    • (1) tendency to prove a proposition; AND 
    • It is probative - It has a tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence

    • (2) that proposition is properly provable in
    • the case
    • -The fact that is too be proved is of consequence in determining the
    • action (one of the elements)
  2. FRE 402
    • General Admissibility of Relevant Evidence
    • Relevant evidence is admissible unless stated otherwise in the Constitution, fed statute, FRE, or other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court
    • 2 types of evidence

    • Real: physical evidence having an actual
    • connection to events that are subject of trial (the actual murder weapon)

    • Demonstrative/Illustrative: tangible items
    • presented at trial that do not have any real connection to events, but are employed to aid trier in comprehending other evidence (photographs, models, simulations, etc.) they are much more persuasive than words
  3. FRE 403
    • Excluding Relevant Evidence for Prejudice, Confusion, Waste of Time, or Other
    • The court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value (how well it supports a fact) is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following:
    • (1) Unfair prejudice – appeals to jury’s
    • sympathies, arouses sense of horror, provokes their instincts to punish or
    • otherwise cause a jury to base its decision on something irrelevant

    • o  

    • (2) Confusing the issues: the evidence would
    • tend to distract the jury from the proper issues
    • -evidence in a product liability case showing
    • defendants made changes to product after the harm runs the risk of confusing
    • the issues… (not allowed)

    • (3) Misleading the jury: often refers to
    • possibility that jury may attach undue weight to evidence. Demonstrative
    • evidence may be excluded as misleading if it distorts or misrepresents
    • underlying evidence
    • -Polygraph tests may be overruled as an indicator of truthfulness because of the polygraph’s scientific nature may mislead jury?
    • -Demonstrative evidence may be excluded as
    • misleading if it distorts or misrepresents underlying evidence

    • (4) Undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly
    • presenting cumulative evidence:
    • -Evidence to prove a conceded fact = waste of time

    • The courts weigh the probative value of the
    • evidence against the factors above. GENERALLY, the court rules favor admission of the evidence and on appeal, particular deference is given to the trial court