The exam consists of sixteen (16) Short-Answer Questions, worth four (4) points each. The exam will be worth 64 points towards your final grade. You have three (3) hours. You may write up to 175 words on each question.
The exam can be taken either on computer using ExamSoft or in bluebooks.
A Note on the Hypotheticals:
The questions all derive from one criminal prosecution for a hate crime. The introductory paragraphs present the basic factual and procedural situation; those facts apply to every question. Subsequent questions add additional facts or procedural issues relevant to the issue being tested in that question. Some questions also may cross-reference the facts of a prior question (e.g., Question # 10 may ask an additional question as to a motion discussed in Question # 9).
Questions are in bold. All facts going to a question have already appeared before that question. Any new information appearing after a question is for the next question and any subsequent questions.
The case is in federal court and governed by the Federal Rules of Evidence and appropriate federal statutes. Names are tied in obvious ways to the role someone plays in the Hypo. Thus:
Name begins with P: Plaintiff
Name begins with D: Defendant
Name begins with V: Victim
Name begins with W: Witness who is not party but testifies at trial (may be multiple)
Name begins with C: Character in the underlying real-world drama who will not be a witness
Read the facts carefully. Some of the information is provided in the form of a trial transcript, so you have to parse out what was said to find the key facts. All necessary facts are provided; if some fact is not provided, that means it is not necessary to the analysis. You may draw appropriate conclusions and inferences from the absence of a fact. Do not assume facts and do not fight the facts you are given.
Read the questions carefully. Answer only the question asked. The questions and issues to be drawn out of each question are straightforward. Do not look for tricks or hidden balls.
Approaching Short-Answer Questions
You may write up to 175 words on each question. That is an intentionally wide figure to give you maximum room to write, although you probably will not (and should not need to) write that much on many questions Do not feel that you must write to the limit on every question; if you can give a complete answer in fewer words, do so. Save your words. Avoid throat clearing. (“The issue is” “As the Court, I would find . . .” “The defendant will argue . . .”). Jump right into your answer. Write as you would in making an oral objection or argument or decision at trial. If asked to be a party or the court, don’t begin with “the party is likely to argue” or “the court is likely to find.” You are the party or the court, so just answer. If asked to reach a conclusion, do so. Do not italicize or bold or underline words you want the reader to see; the reader can figure it out.
Answer each question in a separate paragraph, clearly identifying the question being answered at the start (write the question number in bold above the paragraph--e.g. Question 1). In a parenthetical at the end of each answer, you must state the number of words in that answer. For those taking the exam by computer, you can do this by highlighting the paragraph and doing “word count” for the highlighted portion. For those handwriting the exam, you need to count the words. Each answer that does not include a word count will lose one point.
Each answer should be concise, brief, and direct. A good answer will identify and briefly state the applicable rule (or relevant portion of the applicable rule) and apply it to the facts at hand to produce a conclusion with a short explanation. Do not simply recite legal conclusions (e.g., “The evidence is relevant because it makes a fact more probable than without.”) or conclusions in the case (e.g., “The evidence should be admitted.”). The questions lend themselves to short, quick answers, as if you were making, responding to, or ruling on an evidentiary objection at trial. State the rule, explain it, and apply it to the facts that you are given. Answer only the question asked. Note that questions will ask you to play a particular role--Proponent of evidence, Opponent of evidence, or Judge ruling on evidence. It is enough to cite to § ___ or FRE ___, although cite to the precise provision being discussed (e.g., FRE 804(a)(5)(A)).
You may bring to the exam your copy of the Federal Rules of Evidence, as well as printed copies of any statutes and rules that were assigned during the semester. No other materials may be brought to the exam or used.
Academic Policies and Regulations:
This examination is administered and conducted in accordance with all the provisions of the Florida International University College of Law Academic Policies and Regulations, reprinted in the College of Law Student Handbook. Students are expected to be familiar with and to conduct themselves in accordance with those policies and regulations.