Wednesday, October 1, 2014

For Monday

Wednesday audio. Reminder that the mid-term will be distributed on Friday afternoon, October 24. It is due (typed and printed out) at the beginning of class on Monday, October 27. Please follow all instructions. Please obtain your student exam # for this semester.

Finally, I understand that traffic and parking on campus have been especially bad this semester. Please take that into account in getting to class.

On Monday, we will continue with FRE 609, looking at the specific balancing in 609(a)(1) and in 609(b). Then complete the last two sections of Impeachment; note the assignment of FRE 801(d)(1)(B), in amended form on p. 330 of the Rules Pamphlet).

Also, consider the following. Defendant is charged possession with intent. He testifies and the following exchange occurs on cross:

Q: Were you a drug dealer?
A: No.
Q: Weren't you convicted 14 years ago of drug distribution?
A: Objection.
Ct: Admissible under FRE 609. Defendant was never given notice. No balancing necessary.

Was the court correct? Is the evidence admissible?

Monday, September 29, 2014

For Wednesday

Monday audio.

No new preparation for Wednesday. Go back and review Character/Bias and up through problem 80; we will cover FRE 608 and 609 on Wednesday. Consider what sorts of conduct are probative of truthfulness/untruthfulness.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Re: Evidence and apologies

I don't think the current Federal Rules of Evidence bars the prosecution from admitting the apology, into evidence at trial, to prove the Ferguson Police Department's guilt/responsibility for the unfortunate events surrounding Michael Brown's death.

The policy-based exclusionary rules don't expressly forbid this purpose. Even though an apology can be made for many reasons that are not related to an admission of guilt/control of the event, that won't be enough to keep the evidence out. The defense would have to make that counterargument.

FRE 409
I think the opponent of the evidence's strongest argument rests here, because an apology is "usually made from a humane impulse and not from an admission of liability." However, it currently only protects offers to pay medical bills, not collateral statements such as "I'm sorry."

Relevance and 403
I would also add that the evidence is relevant because (1) it has some tendency to make the fact that the Ferguson police department negligently caused the death of Michael Brown more probable since innocent/non-liable people do not apologize for no reason, and (2) the police department's standard of care is a fact of consequence in determining the action.
Furthermore, the probative value of the apology is arguably very high compared to the risk of unfair prejudice to a government agency.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Evidence and apologies

The Chief of Police in Ferguson, Missouri issued a video apology to, among others, the family of Michael Brown for the loss of their son and the "simply too long" time it took police to move Brown's body, and to "any peaceful protester" who believes he did not do enough to protect First Amendment rights during subsequent protests.

Evidence rules are often criticized for not leaving room to say "I'm sorry." Considering all the possible litigation, civil or criminal, that might follow from Ferguson, is this apology admissible and for what purposes?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

For Monday

Wednesday audio.

We will continue with Introduction to Impeachment; review the categories of credibility and think about the collateral/non-collateral and extrinsic/non-extrinsic lines as you work through the problems.

Go ahead to Character, etc.; review FRE 608 with care.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some information on: Recidivism and Reoffense Rates of Adult Sex Offenders

Hello everyone!

I left class Monday sort of curious about repeat offenders. I tried doing a quick google search for published studies, and I ran into this: Recidivism and Reoffense Rates of Adult Sex Offenders. It's an interesting piece seeing as it tries to connect a number of different studies on the subject.

Have a good night, and see you all tomorrow.



Monday, September 22, 2014

For Wednesday

Monday audio.

We will continue with Witnesses. Consider: What are the issues with a witness testifying that the defendant was drunk in a DUI case? What about testifying that the witness was "impaired"? What about the victim in a sexual assault case testifying that the defendant "raped" her? Review the problems for witnesses. Again, think about the different things that a witness can testify to, an attorney can argue, and the fact-finder can find.

We then will move on to Impeachment, with Introduction to Impeachment. Again, we will begin with a broad overview of impeachment as a whole, then go back to explore the parts. As you will see from LCS, the scope of impeachment is broader than what is in the explicit rules; rather, FRE 607 ("Any part . . . ay attack the witness's credibility.") incorporate existing common law concepts.