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Midlands Rules of Evidence

Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (57)

Character Evidence; Crimes or Other Acts
(a) Character Evidence.
(1) Prohibited Uses. Evidence of a person's character or character trait is not admissible to prove that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character or trait. (2) Exceptions for a Defendant or Victim in a Criminal Case. The following exceptions apply in a criminal case:
(A) A defendant may offer evidence of the defendant's pertinent trait, and if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may offer evidence to rebut it. In lieu of rebuttal witness availability, a defendant must first notify the court and opposing counsel in writing at the Captains' Meeting of the intention to offer such evidence. If such notice is given, the form included with these Rules of Evidence should be completed and presented to the judges with the ballots, and the prosecution may also offer such character evidence during its case-in-chief.
(B) A defendant may offer evidence of an alleged victim's pertinent trait, and if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may:
(i) offer evidence to rebut it; and
(ii) offer evidence of the defendant's same trait.
In lieu of rebuttal witness availability, a defendant must first notify opposing counsel in writing at the Captains' Meeting of the intention to offer such evidence. If such notice is given, the form included with these Rules of Evidence should be completed and presented to the judges with the ballots, and the prosecution may also offer such character evidence during its case-in-chief.
(C) In a homicide case, the prosecutor may offer evidence of the alleged victim's trait of peacefulness to rebut evidence that the victim was the first aggressor.
(3) Exceptions for a Witness. Evidence of a witness's character may be admitted under
Rules 607, 608, and 609.
(b) Crimes, Wrongs, or Other Acts.
(1) Prohibited Uses. Evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person's character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character.
(2) Permitted Uses; Notice in a Criminal Case. This evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident. The prosecution in a criminal case shall provide written notice of such intent prior to witness selection in the Captains' Meeting.
A Witness's Character for Truthfulness or Untruthfulness
(a) Reputation or Opinion Evidence. A witness's credibility may be attacked or supported by testimony about the witness's reputation for having a character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, or by testimony in the form of an opinion about that character. But evidence of truthful character is admissible only after the witness's character for truthfulness has been attacked.
Comment: Written notice is required in civil and criminal cases. In lieu of rebuttal witness availability, if the party attacking the character of the witness for truthfulness is the defense and the witness is a plaintiff/prosecution witness, the defense must first notify opposing counsel in writing at the Captains' Meeting of the intention to offer such evidence. If such notice is given, the form included with these Rules of Evidence should be completed and presented to the judges with the ballots, and the plaintiff/prosecution may offer evidence of truthful character during its case-in-chief.
(b) Specific Instances of Conduct. Except for a criminal conviction under Rule 609, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to prove specific instances of a witness's conduct in order to attack or support the witness's character for truthfulness. But the court may, on cross-examination, allow them to be inquired into if they are probative of the character for truthfulness or untruthfulness of:
(1) the witness; or
(2) another witness whose character the witness being cross-examined has testified about.
Impeachment by Evidence of a Criminal Conviction
(a) In General. The following rules apply to attacking a witness's character for truthfulness by evidence of a criminal conviction:
(1) for a crime that, in the convicting jurisdiction, was punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year, the evidence:
(A) must be admitted, subject to Rule 403, in a civil case or in a criminal case in which the witness is not a defendant; and
(B) must be admitted in a criminal case in which the witness is a defendant, if the probative value of the evidence outweighs its prejudicial effect to that defendant; and
(2) for any crime regardless of the punishment, the evidence must be admitted if the court can determine that establishing the elements of the crime required proving - or the witness's admitting - a dishonest act or false statement.
(b) Limit on Using the Evidence After 10 Years. This subdivision (b) applies if more than 10 years have passed since the witness's conviction or release from confinement for it, whichever is later. Evidence of the conviction is admissible only if:
(1) its probative value, supported by specific facts and circumstances, substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect; and
(2) the proponent gives an adverse party reasonable written notice of the intent to use it so that the party has a fair opportunity to contest its use.
(c) Effect of a Pardon, Annulment, or Certificate of Rehabilitation. Evidence of a conviction is not admissible if:
(1) the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, certificate of rehabilitation, or other equivalent procedure based on a finding that the person has been rehabilitated, and the person has not been convicted of a later crime punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year; or
(2) the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent
procedure based on a finding of innocence.
(d) Juvenile Adjudications. Evidence of a juvenile adjudication is admissible under this rule only
if:
(1) it is offered in a criminal case;
(2) the adjudication was of a witness other than the defendant;
(3) an adult's conviction for that offense would be admissible to attack the adult's credibility; and
(4) admitting the evidence is necessary to fairly determine guilt or innocence.
(e) Pendency of an Appeal. A conviction that satisfies this rule is admissible even if an appeal is pending. Evidence of the pendency is also admissible.
Definitions That Apply to This Article; Exclusions from Hearsay
(a) Statement. "Statement" means a person's oral assertion, written assertion, or nonverbal conduct, if the person intended it as an assertion.
(b) Declarant. "Declarant" means the person who made the statement.
(c) Hearsay. "Hearsay" means a statement that:
(1) the declarant does not make while testifying at the current trial or hearing; and
(2) a party offers in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.
(d) Statements That Are Not Hearsay. A statement that meets the following conditions is not
hearsay(:1) A Declarant-Witness's Prior Statement. The declarant testifies and is subject to cross- examination about a prior statement, and the statement:
(A) is inconsistent with the declarant's testimony and was given under penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding or in a deposition;
(B) is consistent with the declarant's testimony and is offered to rebut an express or implied charge that the declarant recently fabricated it or acted from a recent improper influence or motive in so testifying; or
(C) identifies a person as someone the declarant perceived earlier.
(2) An Opposing Party's Statement. The statement is offered against an opposing party
and:
(A) was made by the party in an individual or representative capacity;
(B) is one the party manifested that it adopted or believed to be true;
(C) was made by a person whom the party authorized to make a statement on the subject;
(D) was made by the party's agent or employee on a matter within the scope of that relationship and while it existed; or
(E) was made by the party's coconspirator during and in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The statement must be considered but does not by itself establish the declarant's authority under (C); the existence or scope of the relationship under (D); or the existence of the conspiracy or participation in it under (E).
Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay - Regardless of Whether the Declarant Is Available as a Witness
The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness:
(1) Present Sense Impression. A statement describing or explaining an event or condition, made while or immediately after the declarant perceived it.
(2) Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.
(3) Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition. A statement of the declarant's then-existing state of mind (such as motive, intent, or plan) or emotional, sensory, or physical condition (such as mental feeling, pain, or bodily health), but not including a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the validity or terms of the declarant's will.
(4) Statement Made for Medical Diagnosis or Treatment. A statement that:
(A) is made for - and is reasonably pertinent to - medical diagnosis or treatment; and (B) describes medical history; past or present symptoms or sensations; their inception; or their general cause.
(5) Recorded Recollection. A record that:
(A) is on a matter the witness once knew about but now cannot recall well enough to testify fully and accurately;
(B) was made or adopted by the witness when the matter was fresh in the witness's memory; and
(C) accurately reflects the witness's knowledge.
If admitted, the record may be read into evidence but may be received as an exhibit only if offered by an adverse party.
(6) Records of a Regularly Conducted Activity. A record of an act, event, condition, opinion, or diagnosis if:
(A) the record was made at or near the time by - or from information transmitted by - someone with knowledge;
(B) the record was kept in the course of a regularly conducted activity of a business, organization, occupation, or calling, whether or not for profit;
(C) making the record was a regular practice of that activity;
(D) all these conditions are shown by the testimony of the custodian or another qualified witness, or by a certification that complies with Rule 902(11) or (12) or with a statute permitting certification; and
(E) neither the source of information nor the method or circumstances of preparation indicate a lack of trustworthiness.
(7) Absence of a Record of Regularly Conducted Activity. Evidence that a matter is not included in a record described in paragraph (6) if:
(A) the evidence is admitted to prove that the matter did not occur or exist;
(B) a record was regularly kept for a matter of that kind; and
(C) neither the possible source of the information nor other circumstances indicate a lack of trustworthiness.
(8) Public Records. A record or statement of a public office if: (A) it sets out:
(i) the office's activities;
(ii) a matter observed while under a legal duty to report, but not including, in a criminal case, a matter observed by law-enforcement personnel; or
(iii) in a civil case or against the government in a criminal case, factual findings from a legally authorized investigation; and
(B) neither the source of information nor other circumstances indicate lack of
trustworthiness.
(9) Public Records of Vital Statistics. A record of a birth, death, or marriage, if reported to a public office in accordance with a legal duty.
(10) Absence of a Public Record. Testimony - or a certification under Rule 902 - that a diligent search failed to disclose a public record or statement if the testimony or certification is admitted to prove that:
(A) the record or statement does not exist; or
(B) a matter did not occur or exist, if a public office regularly kept a record or statement for a matter of that kind.
(11) Records of Religious Organizations Concerning Personal or Family History. A statement of birth, legitimacy, ancestry, marriage, divorce, death, relationship by blood or marriage, or similar facts of personal or family history, contained in a regularly kept record of a religious organization.
(12) Certificates of Marriage, Baptism, and Similar Ceremonies. A statement of fact contained in a certificate:
(A) made by a person who is authorized by a religious organization or by law to perform the act certified;
(B) attesting that the person performed a marriage or similar ceremony or administered a sacrament; and
(C) purporting to have been issued at the time of the act or within a reasonable time after it. (13) Family Records. A statement of fact about personal or family history contained in a family record, such as a Bible, genealogy, chart, engraving on a ring, inscription on a portrait, or engraving on an urn or burial marker.
(14) Records of Documents That Affect an Interest in Property. The record of a document that purports to establish or affect an interest in property if:
(A) the record is admitted to prove the content of the original recorded document, along with its signing and its delivery by each person who purports to have signed it;
(B) the record is kept in a public office; and
(C) a statute authorizes recording documents of that kind in that office.
(15) Statements in Documents That Affect an Interest in Property. A statement contained in a document that purports to establish or affect an interest in property if the matter stated was relevant to the document's purpose - unless later dealings with the property are inconsistent with the truth of the statement or the purport of the document.
(16) Statements in Ancient Documents. A statement in a document that is at least 20 years and whose authenticity is established.
(17) Market Reports and Similar Commercial Publications. Market quotations, lists, directories, or other compilations that are generally relied on by the public or by persons in particular occupations.
(18) Statements in Learned Treatises, Periodicals, or Pamphlets. A statement contained in a treatise, periodical, or pamphlet if:
(A) the statement is called to the attention of an expert witness on cross-examination or relied on by the expert on direct examination; and
(B) the publication is established as a reliable authority by the expert's admission or testimony, by another expert's testimony, or by judicial notice.
If admitted, the statement may be read into evidence but not received as an exhibit. Comment: This rule concerns published treatises, periodicals, or pamphlets that have been provided in the case packet. Mere reference to a title in the packet is insufficient; the entirety of the item must be provided in the case packet for this rule to be applicable.
(19) Reputation Concerning Personal or Family History. A reputation among a person's family by blood, adoption, or marriage - or among a person's associates or in the community - concerning the person's birth, adoption, legitimacy, ancestry, marriage, divorce, death, relationship by blood, adoption, or marriage, or similar facts of personal or family history.
(20) Reputation Concerning Boundaries or General History. A reputation in a community - arising before the controversy - concerning boundaries of land in the community or customs that affect the land, or concerning general historical events important to that community, state, or nation.
(21) Reputation Concerning Character. A reputation among a person's associates or in the community concerning the person's character.
(22) Judgment of a Previous Conviction. Evidence of a final judgment of conviction if:
(A) the judgment was entered after a trial or guilty plea, but not a nolo contendere plea;
(B) the conviction was for a crime punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than a year;
(C) the evidence is admitted to prove any fact essential to the judgment; and
(D) when offered by the prosecutor in a criminal case for a purpose other than impeachment, the judgment was against the defendant.
The pendency of an appeal may be shown but does not affect admissibility.
(23) Judgments Involving Personal, Family, or General History, or a Boundary. A judgment that is admitted to prove a matter of personal, family, or general history, or boundaries, if the
matter: (A) was essential to the judgment; and
(B) could be proved by evidence of reputation.
Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay -When the Declarant Is Unavailable as a Witness
(a) Criteria for Being Unavailable. A declarant is considered to be unavailable as a witness if the declarant:
(1) is exempted from testifying about the subject matter of the declarant's statement because the court rules that a privilege applies;
(2) refuses to testify about the subject matter despite a court order to do so;
(3) testifies to not remembering the subject matter;
(4) cannot be present or testify at the trial or hearing because of death or a then-existing infirmity, physical illness, or mental illness; or
(5) is absent from the trial or hearing and the statement's proponent has not been able, by process or other reasonable means, to procure:
(A) the declarant's attendance, in the case of a hearsay exception under Rule 804(b)(1) or (6); or
(B) the declarant's attendance or testimony, in the case of a hearsay exception under Rule 804(b)(2), (3), or (4).
But this subdivision (a) does not apply if the statement's proponent procured or wrongfully caused the declarant's unavailability as a witness in order to prevent the declarant from attending or testifying.
Comment: This rule may not be used at trial to assert that a team has "procured" the
unavailability of a witness by choosing not to call that witness.
(b) The Exceptions. The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay if the declarant is unavailable as a witness:
(1) Former testimony. Testimony that:
(A) was given as a witness at a trial, hearing, or lawful deposition, whether given during the current proceeding or a different one; and
(B) is now offered against a party who had - or, in a civil case, whose predecessor in interest had - an opportunity and similar motive to develop it by direct, cross-, or redirect examination.
(2) Statement Under the Belief of Imminent Death. In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil case, a statement that the declarant, while believing the declarant's death to be imminent, made about its cause or circumstances.
(3) Statement Against Interest. A statement that:
(A) a reasonable person in the declarant's position would have made only if the person believed it to be true because, when made, it was so contrary to the declarant's proprietary or pecuniary interest or had so great a tendency to invalidate the declarant's claim against someone else or to expose the declarant to civil or criminal liability; and
(B) is supported by corroborating circumstances that clearly indicate its trustworthiness, if it is offered in a criminal case as one that tends to expose the declarant to criminal liability.
(4) Statement of Personal or Family History. A statement about:
(A) the declarant's own birth, adoption, legitimacy, ancestry, marriage, divorce, relationship by blood, adoption, or marriage, or similar facts of personal or family history, even though the declarant had no way of acquiring personal knowledge about that fact; or
(B) another person concerning any of these facts, as well as death, if the declarant was related to the person by blood, adoption, or marriage or was so intimately associated with the person's family that the declarant's information is likely to be accurate.
(5) Omitted.
(6) Statement Offered Against a Party That Wrongfully Caused the Declarant's Unavailability. A statement offered against a party that wrongfully caused - or acquiesced in wrongfully causing - the declarant's unavailability as a witness, and did so intending that result.
Authenticating or Identifying Evidence
(a) In General. To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence,
the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.
(b) Examples. The following are examples only - not a complete list - of evidence that satisfies the requirement:
(1) Testimony of a Witness with Knowledge. Testimony that an item is what it is claimed to be.
(2) Nonexpert Opinion About Handwriting. A nonexpert's opinion that handwriting is genuine, based on a familiarity with it that was not acquired for the current litigation.
(3) Comparison by an Expert Witness or the Trier of Fact. A comparison with an authenticated specimen by an expert witness or the trier of fact.
(4) Distinctive Characteristics and the Like. The appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics of the item, taken together with all the circumstances.
(5) Opinion About a Voice. An opinion identifying a person's voice - whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording - based on hearing the voice at any time under circumstances that connect it with the alleged speaker.
(6) Evidence About a Telephone Conversation. For a telephone conversation, evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time to:
(A) a particular person, if circumstances, including self-identification, show that the person answering was the one called; or
(B) a particular business, if the call was made to a business and the call related to business reasonably transacted over the telephone.
(7) Evidence About Public Records. Evidence that:
(A) a document was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law; or
(B) a purported public record or statement is from the office where items of this kind are kept.
(8) Evidence About Ancient Documents or Data Compilations. For a document or data compilation, evidence that it:
(A) is in a condition that creates no suspicion about its authenticity; (B) was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be; and
(C) is at least 20 years old when offered.
(9) Evidence About a Process or System. Evidence describing a process or system and showing it produces an accurate result.
(10) Methods Provided by a Statute or Rule. Any method of authentication or identification allowed by a Midlands statute or a rule prescribed by the Midlands Supreme Court.
Evidence That Is Self-Authenticating
The following items of evidence are self-authenticating; they require no extrinsic evidence of authenticity in order to be admitted:
(1) Domestic Public Documents That Are Sealed and Signed. A document that bears:
(A) a seal purporting to be that of the United States; any state, district, commonwealth, territory, or insular possession of the United States; the former Panama Canal Zone; the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; a political subdivision of any of these entities; or a department, agency, or officer of any entity named above; and
(B) a signature purporting to be an execution or attestation.
(2) Domestic Public Documents That Are Not Sealed but Are Signed and Certified. A document that bears no seal if:
(A) it bears the signature of an officer or employee of an entity named in Rule 902(1)(A); and

(B) another public officer who has a seal and official duties within that same entity certifies under seal - or its equivalent - that the signer has the official capacity and that the signature is genuine.
(3) Foreign Public Documents. A document that purports to be signed or attested by a person who is authorized by a foreign country's laws to do so. The document must be accompanied by a final certification that certifies the genuineness of the signature and official position of the signer or attester - or of any foreign official whose certificate of genuineness relates to the signature or attestation or is in a chain of certificates of genuineness relating to the signature or attestation. The certification may be made by a secretary of a United States embassy or legation; by a consul general, vice consul, or consular agent of the United States; or by a diplomatic or consular official of the foreign country assigned or accredited to the United States. If all parties have been given a reasonable opportunity to investigate the document's authenticity and accuracy, the court may, for good cause, either:
(A) order that it be treated as presumptively authentic without final certification; or
(B) allow it to be evidenced by an attested summary with or without final certification.
(4) Certified Copies of Public Records. A copy of an official record - or a copy of a document that was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law - if the copy is certified as correct by:
(A) the custodian or another person authorized to make the certification; or
(B) a certificate that complies with Rule 902(1), (2), or (3) or a rule prescribed by the Midlands Supreme Court.
(5) Official Publications. A book, pamphlet, or other publication purporting to be issued by a public authority.
(6) Newspapers and Periodicals. Printed material purporting to be a newspaper or periodical. (7) Trade Inscriptions and the Like. An inscription, sign, tag, or label purporting to have been affixed in the course of business and indicating origin, ownership, or control.
(8) Acknowledged Documents. A document accompanied by a certificate of acknowledgment that is lawfully executed by a notary public or another officer who is authorized to take acknowledgments.
(9) Commercial Paper and Related Documents. Commercial paper, a signature on it, and related documents, to the extent allowed by general commercial law.
(10) Omitted.
(11) Certified Domestic Records of a Regularly Conducted Activity. The original or a copy of a domestic record that meets the requirements of Rule 803(6)(A)-(C), as shown by a certification of the custodian or another qualified person that complies with a rule prescribed by the Midlands Supreme Court. Before the trial or hearing, the proponent must give an adverse party reasonable written notice of the intent to offer the record - and must make the record and certification available for inspection - so that the party has a fair opportunity to challenge them.
Comment: The reasonableness requirement of this rule is satisfied if the aforementioned
notice, record, and certification are affirmatively made available at the Captains' Meeting. (12) Certified Foreign Records of a Regularly Conducted Activity. In a civil case, the original or a copy of a foreign record that meets the requirements of Rule 902(11), modified as follows: the certification, rather than complying with a Midlands Supreme Court rule, must be signed in a manner that, if falsely made, would subject the maker to a criminal penalty in the country where the certification is signed. The proponent must also meet the notice requirements of Rule 902(11).
Comment: If no foreign law is provided in the case materials, the presumption will be that no legal infraction occurred with respect to the requirement of subdivision 12 that the certification "must be signed in a manner that, if falsely made, would subject the maker to a criminal penalty in the country where the certification is signed."