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Criminal Evidence Exam 1
Terms in this set (113)
Something that tends to prove the existence of an alleged fact.
Legally Relevant Evidence
Those things that can be introduced as evidence at trial.
When evidence is formally admitted in a case, we say that it has been...
"introduced" or "introduced into evidence"
All evidence is introduced by testimony of a witness, this is called
laying the foundation
What are the 4 types of evidence?
3. Tangible Objects
4. Forensic and Scientific tests
Every crime has several ____________.
Each element must be proved by weight of evidence __________________.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
The breaking and entering the dwelling house of another, during the nighttime, with the intent of committing a felony therein.
Common Law Burglary
Proof that precludes every reasonable hypothesis except that which the law requires for the case (beyond a reasonable doubt).
Burden of Proof
Can one have doubts and still convict?
If the prosecutor proves most of the elements of an alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt, is that enough?
NO, he prosecutor must prove EVERY element of an alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defendant is said to have this in order to convince the jury that the prosecution has not proved his/her guilt.
Burden of Persuasion
Just enough evidence to make it more likely than not that the fact the claimant seeks to prove is true.
Preponderance of the Evidence
This is the burden used in civil trials. It means, the plaintiff (or the defendant in a counter suit) need only prove each element of his/her civil claim by preponderance.
Trier of the Law
Always the judge
Trier of the Facts
The jury in a full trial
The judge in a bench trial
Judges answer a number of questions in each case and are given this
What are three major discretions a judge is given?
1. Whether a question asked to a witness is proper
2. Whether a piece of evidence is admissible
•Too prejudicial to the defendant
•Whether evidence is duplicative or irrelevant
•Whether evidence seized by the police is admissible
3. Can move the proceedings forward when they believe an attorney has asked enough questions on a single issue
Who decides how much weight to give evidence?
Jury = trier of fact
Evidence is only as good as....
the person introducing it.
What are the two roles of a prosecutor?
Prosecute on behalf of the government AND protect fundamental fairness.
What are the five points of prosecutor discretion?
1. Assist: A prosecutor can assist law enforcement before an arrest is made.
2. Evaluation: Determines if there is enough evidence to pursue a case.
3. Charging: If he or she decides to charge, he or she determines what to charge.
4. Changing: If a prosecutor decides, he or she has the discretion to alter the charges against a defendant.
5. Abandon: If the prosecutor believes it proper, even after formal charges are filed, he or she can dismiss charges.
The Fourth Amendment was not held applicable until
What happens when no provisions of the Constitution apply?
The states are permitted to make up their own rules
Comprehensive set of rules that govern many aspects of evidentiary law in the Federal System. Many states have adopted all or part of these which were adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972.
What happens when there are gaps in the modern "Rules of Evidence?"
the old common law rules can still be used
Ultimately interprets the F.R.E and federal statutes and supervisory court over all federal courts.
U.S. Supreme Court
Interprets State Constitutions and State Rule of Evidence
State Supreme Courts
What are the lowest level courts which typically only hear misdemeanors?
Examples of Limited Jurisdiction Courts (3)
Traffic Courts, Magistrate Courts, Small Claims Courts
Courts directly above Limited Jurisdiction Courts that have the authority to hear any case that arises in their venue (felony cases are heard here).
Court that reviews cases from the trial courts
Court of Appeals (Appellate Courts)
Three types of appeals:
1. The jury messed up
2. The judge screwed up (more common but no the most)
3. Ineffective assistance of counsel (most common)
Higher court that hears cases from the lower levels.
Court of Last Resort
What two courts do not hear new evidence and only hear appeals "from the record."
Court of Last Resort and Intermediate Appeals Courts
Courts of general jurisdiction and courts of limited jurisdiction is where the evidence is entered and witnesses are called. These are under what type of court?
Arkansas courts have what kind of structure?
There are ______ counties in Arkansas, divided into 23 Circuits.
In the Federal System, there are _______ circuits, each with a court of appeals.
There are ______ District Courts in the USA and its territories.
You have enough evidence to prove I'm guilty so I'm going to plea out but I'm not going to say I'm guilty. This would be pleading
Nolo Contendere (no contest)
Three types of pleas
Guilty, Not Guilty, Nolo Contendre (no contest)
Can the judge use evidence that might be inadmissible at trial to determine whether to hold the defendant?
Complaints are written by law enforcement agents (Police or FBI) and contain: (3)
1. Information that establishes the crimes being charged
2. Establish that the court has jurisdiction
3. That the statute of limitations has not run
-In federal cases, it is usually accompanied by a sworn statement
from the officer who wrote it (affidavit).
o This leads to an arrest warrant
Type of hearing that typically occurs after the arraignment
Preliminary Hearings serve two primary purposes, which are:
1. The judge determines whether the state has enough evidence at that point in time to establish probable cause that the defendant committed a crime
2. Determine whether there is enough evidence to bind the defendant over for trial.
•Witnesses take an oath
•Hearsay may be permitted
•Defendants are permitted to challenge witnesses
Before trial, both sides are "entitled" to the evidence that the other side has - whether it incriminates or exculpates the defendant. This is called
Discovery Includes: (7)
oList of witnesses the sides plan to call
oList of expert witnesses
oRecorded statements made by people on the witness list (except statements made by the defendant to the defense attorney).
oItemized list of physical evidence either side has in the case
oResults of lab test performed on the evidence by either side that will be introduced in court
oReports made by expert witnesses that are schedule to testify
oStatements made by co-defendants
Plea Bargaining disposes of ______ percent of all cases.
When do defendants waive their constitutional rights?
When they enter a straight guilty plea
When is the only time a guilty plea does not waive your constitutional rights?
ineffective assistance of counsel
When defendants can sometimes enter a conditional plea that allows them to preserve appeal rights?
How many people are on a jury?
Evidence is not admissible if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the likelihood it will:
1. Place unfair prejudice on the defendant
2. Confuse the issues
3. Mislead the jury
4. Cause undue delay or waste time
5. Be a needless presentation of cumulative evidence
Given by a competent witness while testifying under oath or affirmation in a court proceeding and is always necessary to enter "real evidence."
Anything (except testimony) that can be perceived with the 5 senses that tends to prove a fact that is an issue.
Evidence substitutes occur when the judge tells the jury a set of facts they are to believe. What are the 3 main types?
2. Judicial Notice
An agreement between opposing attorneys that a fact exists.
A judge, on his or her own authority, tells the jury to conclude that a fact exists. Typically, this only involves commonly known facts (scientific and otherwise).
An idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is not know for certain.
One can challenge the underlying facts; one can introduce evidence to rebut the presumption even after the underlying fact is proved
One can challenge the underlying facts, however once those underlying facts are established, the presumption is established. This is called
What is the difference between cumulative evidence and corroborative evidence?
Cumulative evidence repeats the same thing that has already been introduced.
Corroborative evidence supports the prior testimony by providing additional evidence to confirm the prior testimony
Circumstantial evidence showing that the defendant has a particular skill, or is an associate with someone who has those skills, can be used to help link the defendant to an act.
Circumstantial Evidence to Prove Special Skill
Circumstantial evidence showing that the defendant has access to a particular weapon, the security codes, a safe combination, a hot-wiring kit, etc., can be used to connect the defendant to a crime.
Circumstantial Evidence to Prove Means
Circumstantial evidence showing that the defendant was physically capable of committing the crime can be used to infer guilt.
Circumstantial Evidence to Prove Physical Capacity
Circumstantial evidence showing that the defendant was intelligent enough to commit the crime can be used to infer guilt.
Circumstantial Evidence to Prove Mental Capacity
Method of Operation =
oMany criminals are creatures of habit and methodically do the same things over and over again.
oProsecutors can introduce evidence of a defendant's prior criminal behavior to link the defendant to the alleged crime.
oPrior crimes are typically not admissible, but if the prosecutor can prove "habit" or that there is a "signature" to the crime, the Judge may allow it.
oThere has to be something that makes the crime unique
Circumstantial Evidence of intent or Modus Operandi
Supports the truth of the assertion directly, without the need for additional evidence or inference. Observation
Requires an inference to connect the evidence to a conclusion or fact. Inference.
What a person does after a crime is committed can be used such as flight, concealing evidence, possession of stolen property, sudden wealth, threatening witnesses.
Circumstantial Evidence of Guilt
A witness testifies about the defendant's "reputation in the community"
The prosecutor can bring up a Defendant's character without waiting for the defense if
A particular character trait of the defendant is related to a specific issue in the alleged crime.
-Evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person to show that they acted in conformity therewith.
-BUT can be used to show motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, planning, knowledge, absence of mistake, identity.
Prior Bad Acts FRE 404b
Can a defendant's offer to plead guilty be used as circumstantial evidence that the defendant is guilty?
Cannot use evidence of a victims sexual history or alleged sexual misconduct to prove:
1. The victim engaged in any other sexual activity
2. The alleged victims sexual predisposition
Cannot use evidence of a victims sexual history or alleged sexual misconduct to prove except in these three situations:
1. Evidence that the injury was caused by another person
2. Prior sexual relationship between the victim and defendant to show consent
3. Any evidence, the exclusion of which, would violate the defendants constitutional rights.
A witness is competent if these two things
A. Understands the duty to tell the truth
B. Can narrate the events in question
Arkansas' per se rule banning post-hypnosis testimony infringes on the right of a defendant to testify on his or her own behalf (Court Case)
Rock v. Arkansas (1987)
What are the 6 ways you can impeach a witness?
1. Bias or prejudice
2. Prior Felony Convictions
3. Uncharged Crimes and Immoral Acts
4. Prior inconsistent statements
5. Inability to Observe
6. Reputation (limited soley to honesty)
oThe Federal Rules of Evidence permit introduction of prior felonies to impeach, but give the judge discretion on whether to allow this information in.
oMisdemeanors can be used as well, but they have to be related to dishonesty or false statements.
oFelonies older than 10 years are not permissible unless the judge says otherwise.
oSome states follow the FRE
oSome states limit to crime that are related to "dishonestly on the witness stand"
E.g. Prior conviction for falsifying identification documents is admissible. But a conviction for aggravated battery is not. Because truthfulness is always relevant to impeachment, but violence is not.
3 methods for inconsistent statements:
1) There was a reason the witness was lying earlier, but he is telling the truth now.
2) The statement used to impeach was taken out of context.
3) Introduce statements made before the inconsistent statement.
Second hand testimony
Sometimes the attempt to refresh a memory fails. It may still be possible to enter the reports written near the time of the event into the trial.
Past Recollection Record Exception
The judge may allow the written statements into evidence if: (6)
1. The statement would be admissible if the declarant testified at the current trial
2. The witness currently has insufficient present recollection to testify fully and accurately
3. The report was made at a time when the facts were fresh in the memory of the witness
4. The report was made by the witness, someone under his or her direction, or by another person for the purpose of recording the witness's statement
5. The witness can testify that the report was a true statement of the facts
6. The report is authenticated as accurate
Testifies in court to events relevant to the case on trial, allowed to testify about events that they observed with one of their 5 senses, and are not allowed to give opinions.
Used to help the jury understand facts about the case.
Rule 702 about expert witnesses sets two prerequisites:
First, the jury needs help in interpreting scientific, technical, or other specialized facts.
Second, the person who will testify is qualified to testify about these facts.
Once again, lay witnesses are typically not permitted to testify regarding their opinion. This is called
The Opinion Rule
Exceptions to the Opinion Rule (7)
•Statements about someone's emotional state (angry, happy, ect.)
•Statements about someone's physical condition (weak, strong, sick, ect.)
•Statements about someone's mental condition (smart, coherent, dumb)
•Identifying someone from a lineup
•General statements about the speed of a vehicle
Scientific techniques were admissible in court only if they were "generally accepted" as reliable in their relevant scientific community.
Frye Test (1923)
The judge must determine whether the techniques are generally accepted in the scientific community AND the reasoning and methodology were accurately applied in the case at hand.
All types of real evidence have two things in common:
1. They must be marked and formally introduced into evidence.
2. The attorney who introduces them must lay a foundation to establish the admissibility of the item in question.
Marking evidence has four steps:
1. The item must be shown to opposing counsel before testimony is introduced
2. The item is assigned a number by the court clerk for identification
3. A foundation is laid to establish that the item is admissible
4. A formal request is made to admit the item into evidence
Once an item has been admitted, it becomes an evidentiary exhibit.
When someone identifies an object and testifies where the item was found
Laying the Foundation
A person may be detained in the field based on ____________, but _____________ is needed to transport him.
reasonable suspicion, probable cause
Laying a foundation requires successfully answering three questions:
1. Is this a valid scientific test?
2. Was accurate equipment used to perform the test?
3. Was the test performed in an appropriate manner by a qualified individual?
Commonly Accepted Scientific Tests (6):
2. Blood Alcohol
3. Blood typing
5. Drug Testing
6. Firearm Identification
Tests not commonly accepted (3):
Any substance that contains letters, words, numbers, picture, or sounds.
Entering documents into evidence requires
an exception to the hearsay rule.
Provides some methods for authenticating documents, recording and photos, but it is not an exhaustive list.
The document has been in existence for over 20 years, is in a location expected of such a document, and is in a condition that doesn't raise suspicions regarding its authenticity.
Ancient Document Rule
If one can show that a letter, telegraph, telephone call, or email has been sent, then a document, phone call, letter, email shown by its contents to be a reply, is authenticated without anyone more (this probably applies to text messages, too).
The Reply Doctrine
FRE Rule 902 lists 12 types of documents: what are nine?
1. Government documents under seal
2. Domestic documents not under seal (but signed and certified)
3. Foreign Public Documents
4. Certified copies of public records
5. Official publications issues by a public authority
6. Newspapers and periodicals
7. Trade inscriptions
8. Acknowledged documents
9. Commercial paper
An out-of-court statement made by anyone other than the witness, who is testifying at a trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
The person who made the out of court statement
The declarant intends to communicate his or her thoughts or beliefs
Hearsay is not admissible in court because of these three things:
1. We don't trust testimony unless it is made under oath.
2. The jury did not see the person making the statement and want the jury to judge his or her candor.
3. Hearsay is not subject to cross examination and we rely on cross examination to get to the truth.
The defendant has a right to confront witnesses against him/her (Confrontation Clause)
When hearsay is improperly introduced at trial, the defendant's constitutional rights are violated.
The court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issue, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.
The following evidence is not admissible in a civil or criminal proceeding involving alleged sexual misconduct:
1. Evidence offered to prove that any alleged victim engaged in other sexual behavior or
2. Evidence offered to prove a victim's sexual predisposition.
FRE 412 Exceptions (3):
1. Evidence of specific instances of a victim's sexual behavior, or offered to prove that a someone other than the defendant was the source of semen, injury, or other physical evidence.
2. Evidence of specific instances of a victims sexual behavior with respect to the person accused of the sexual misconduct, if offered by the defendant to prove consent or if offered by the prosecutor
3. Evidence whose exclusion would violate the defendant's constitutional rights
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