Evidence Federal Rules US Law

Updated 2007-11-06 23:00

Federal Rules of Evidence--Summary


103Rulings on Evidence: timely objection, offer of proof
104Preliminary Questions: made by judge outside of presence of jury, not bound by rules of evidence
105Limited Admissibility: judge should instruct jury according to proper, limited use
106Remainder of or Relatated Writings: rule of completeness: when part of a writing or recorded statement is introduced, an adverse party can introduce nay other part of that writing which in fairness is considered contemporaneous with it
401Relevant Evidence: evidence having any tenddency to make the existence of any fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence
402Admissibility: all relevant evidence is admissible except as provided by the Rules; evidence which is not relevant is not admissible
403Balancing test: If the evidence is relevant, the judge must outweigh its probative value with its danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, possibility of misleading the jury (emotional appeal), undue delay, waste of time or needless presentation of cumulative evidence. If the probabtive value is less, the evidence should be excluded
404(a)(1)Character Evidence of Accused: Evidence of a pertinent trait admissible if offered initially by the defendant or if defendant attacks the character of alleged victim
404(a)(2)Character of alleged victim: may only be offered by accused unless prosecutor uses to show peacefulness of homicide victim to rebut evidence that alleged victim was first aggressor
403(b)Prior bad acts: cannot be used to show character in order to show conformity therewith. May be used to show: proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity or absence of mistake. Requires reasonable notice
405Methods of Proving Character: on direct, reputation or opinion, on cross, specific instances may be inquired into but must be taken as responded to (exception for prior conviction of a crime); if character is an essential element of a charge, claim or defense, proof of specific instances may be introduced
406Habit; Routine Practice: evidence of habit or routine practice is relevant to prove conformity with the habit or practice at the instance in question
407Subsequent remedial measure: not admissible to show negligence, culpable conduce, product defect or need for warning; may be admitted to show ownership, control or feasibility of precautionary measures or impeachment
408Compromise or offers to Compromise (or negotiation): May not be used to show liability or invalidity of claim or amount , may be used to show witness's bias or prejudice, negate a contention of undue delay or to prove an effort to obstruct criminal investigation
409Payment of Medical expenses: may not be offered as admission of liability
410Pleas, Plea Discussions: may not be admitted in any civil or criminal proceeding against defendant who made or participated in plea discussions
411Libaility Insurance: evidence that a person was or was not insuraed against liability is not admissible on issue of negligence; may be admitted to show proof of aency, ownership, control, bias or prejudice
412Sex Offense Cases--Victim's past sexual behavior: evidence to prove other sexual behavior or sexual predisposition in admissible; in criminal case--may admit evidence of sexual behavior by victim to prove someone other than the accused was the rapist, evidence of sexual history between victim and alleged rapist to show consent, or evidence that would violate constitutional rights of defendant if excluded; civil--evidencer offered to prove sexual behavior or predisposition of alleged victim is admissible under 403 test, reputation is admissible only if brought up by alleged victim.
413Similar sexual assault crimes--prior commission of sexual crimes by accused may be considered
414Child Molestation crimes: evidence of prior commission of child molestation by accused is admissible
415Evidence of Prior Sexual assaults or child molestation in Civil case: commission of prior sexual assaults or child molestation is admissible
601Competency--everyone is competent who is able to understand oath
602Personal Knowledge: evidence sufficient to support a finding that W has personal knowledge is required
605Presiding judge may not testify in that trial as a W
606Member of Jury may not testify as a W before a case where he is a juror
607Either party may impeach any witness
608(a)Evidence of Character and Conduct of W: opinion or reputation refering to character for truthfulness or untruthfullness; evidence of truthful character may be admitted only after truthfulness of W has been attacked.
608(b)Character evidence--specific instances of conduct: for W who is not D, may not be proved by extrinsic evidence other than conviction of crime; specific acts may be asked about in cross only relating to character trait of truthfulness or untruthfulness
609Impeachment by prior conviction: for W other than D--403 balancing test if crime was a "felony" or related to honesty or dishonesty where W was convicted, court has discretion to admit evidence of the conviction; after 10 years since the date of conviction or release admitted only in the "interests of justice" with notification to opposing party
610Religious Beliefs or Opinions: not admissible to show credibility of W
611(a)Judge controls order and style of testimony
611(b)Cross is limited to subject matter of direct or additional matters upon court's discretion
611(c)Leading questions: not allowed for aligned W (generally ok on cross, not on direct), but allowed for hostile or adverse party
612Writings to Refresh Memory: adverse party is entitled to have the writing, to inspect it and to cross W on it and to introduce it into evidence; irrelevant portions of the writing may be excised upon motion by court in camera
613Prior statements of Ws: statement need not be shown nor its contents disclosed to W at that time, but must be disclosed to opposing counsel upon request; extrinsic evidence is not admissible unless W is afforded an opportunity to explain or deny and opposite party is afforded an opportunity to interrogate the W; does not apply to admissions of party opponent
614court may call or interrogate any W
701Opinion testimony: limited to opinions rationally based on the perception of the W and helpful to a clear understanding of the W's testimony or the determination of a fact in issue, and not based on specialized knowledge
702Expert Testimony: testimony must be based on sufficient facts or data, reliable principles and methods, and applied reliably to the facts of the case
703Bases of Expert Opinion Testimony: should be reasonably relied upon by experts in the particular field, facts or data need not be admissible
704 Opinion on ultimate issue: testimony may contain conclusions on issues that the trier of fact must decide with the exception of mens rea
705Disclosure of Facts or Data Underlying expert testimony: expert may testify in terms of opinion or inference and give reasons without first testifying to underlying facts or data, but may be required by court to disclose underlying facts or data on cross
706Court Appointed Experts
801(a)Statement--oral or written assertion or nonverbal conduct if intented as an assertion
801(b)Declarant--person who makes a statement
801(c)Hearsay--A statement other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidendce to prove the truth of the matter asserted
801(d) non-hearsay--prior statement by witness given under oath subject to perjury with cross examination and offered to rebut a charge of recent fabrication, improper influence or identification; admission by party opponent made or accepted by party or its agent or a co-conspirator
802Hearsay is not admissible unelss it falls under an exception
803(1)Present Sense Impression
803(2)Excited Utterance
803(3)Then existing mental, emotional or physical condition
803(4)Made for purposes of medical dx or treatment
803(5)Recorded recollection
803(6)Business record
803(7)Absence of business record
803(8)Public records or reports
803(9)Records of vital statistics
803(10)Absence of public record or entry
803(11)Records of Religious organizations re birth, death, marriage, legitimacy, anscestry, etc
803(12)Marriage, baptismal or similar certificate
803(13)Family records
803(14)Records of documents affecting an interest in property
803(15)Statements in documents affecting an interest in property
803(16)Ancient documents
803(17)Market reports, commercial publications
803(18)Learned treatises
803(19)Reputation concerning personal or family history
803(20)Reputation concerning boundaries or general history
803(21)reputation as to character
803(22)Judgment of prior conviction
803(23)Judgement as to personal, family or general history or boundaries
804(a)Unavailibility of a W means exempt by ruling of court on privilege, refusal to testify, lack of memory, unable to be present including being dead; parties have been unable to procure presence by process or other reasonable means
804(b)(1)Prior testimony
804(b)(2)Dying declaration
804(b)(3)Statement against interest
804(b)(4)Statement of personal or family history
804(b)(6)Forfeiture by wrongdoing that caused W to be unvailable
805Multiple levels of hearsay--each part requires an exception
806Attacking and Supporting credibility of Declarant: credibility may be attacked by any evidence that would be admissible if declarant testified as W; provisions for allowing a declarant to deny or explain inconsistent statements does not apply
807Residual Exception
901Requirement of Authentication or Identification: when a party seeks to introduce tangible evidence, the party must provide a basis for a finding that the item is really what it claims to be; ways of authentication include testimony of a W with knowledge, nonexpert handwriting opinion, comparison by terier or expert W, distinctive characteristics, voice identification, telephone conversations, public records or reports, ancient documents or data compilation, process or system, methods provided by statute or rule
902Self-authentication: Extrinsic evidence of authenticity is not required--public documents certified (usually under seal), certified copies of public records, official publications, newspapers and periodicals, trade inscriptions, acknowledged documents (notarized), commercial paper, presumptions under Congressional acts, certified business records
1001Writing can be any form of data compilation including print, recordings, phtos, videos, xrays; original is the recording or a counterpart intended to have the same effect; a duplicate is a reprint/copoy of the original which accurately reproduces the original
1002Requirement of Original (Best Evidence Rule): original is required unless it falls under an exception or Congressional act
1003Duplicates may be admitted in lieu of original unless unfair or genuine question as to authenticity of original
1004Other Evidence of Contents--original is not required if originals lost or destroyed, unobtainable, in the possession of opponent or not closely related to a controlling issue
1005Public Records--May be proved by certified copy or copy compared with original
1006Summaries may be used when writing is too voluminous to be examed however originals must be available for examination or copying by other parties and court may order their production
1007Testimony or Written Admission of Party--may be admitted without accounting for the nonproduction of the original
1008Functions of Court and Jury--Judge determines initial admission under 104, but jury decides whether asserted writing ever existed, is the original or accurately reflects the content of the original