Evidence Briefs by kmaghakhani


									Logical Relevance
    Relevance and Materiality
          o Evidence is relevant if it tends to establish the point for which it was offered and “material” if the
             point bares on the issues in the case

Old Chief
    Facts:
          o D was arrested for assault with deadly weapon and charged with a federal crime which prohibits
            possession of a firearm by someone who has previously been convicted of a felony. D had
            previous conviction of assault with a gun for which he was sentenced for 5 years.
                D wanted to keep this first conviction from the jury
                D argued that under 403 offering as evidence his prior conviction would be inadmissible
                   because the prejudice would substantially outweigh its probative value
                Also argued [but incorrect] that the name of his prior conviction was irrelevant to the
                   prior conviction element and so inadmissible under 402

      Holding:
          o Trial court should have excluded the details of the prior conviction because it was too prejudicial
          o The D was willing to stipulate that had prior felony and this would meet the element of the
             federal crime he is being charged with. The prosecution's argument that it should be allowed to
             present evidence of choice strong but not persuasive here. Showing the nature of D's last felony
             has very little probative value, because needed only show that D had prior conviction which can
             be done by stipulation. But the danger of prejudicial effects is very high. Therefore, the district
             court abused it's discretion by overriding D's stipulation and allowing the prosecution present the
          o Offer to stipulate doesn’t make relevant evidence that is irrelevant
                  The decision of whether to exclude evidence should not be based soley on the fact that
                     evidence is offered to prove a point , rather the decision should be made based on
                     considerations such as waste of time and undue prejudice
                  Evidence should be admitted that would satisfy jurors expectations about proper proof

State v. Chapple
     Facts: Victim was found in a trailer, dead of a gunshot to the head, and body burned badly.

       Procedural Posture: Dolan was charged with first degree murder. Witnesses testified that someone
       named “Dee” confessed to the killing. Dolan insists that he is not “Dee,” but was willing to stipulate to
       the method of the murder and the condition of the body. Photographs showing the gruesome condition
       of the body were shown to the jury. Dolan was convicted and appeals.

      Issue: Whether gruesome photographs of a victim’s body are admissible when they have no probative
       value toward any of the issues in controversy, and they may be inflammatory to the jury.

      Holding: No.

      Reasoning: Relevance is not the only question. Rule 403 states that the judge may exclude the evidence
       if the danger of prejudice created by admitting the evidence outweighs the probative value for any issue
       actually in controversy in the action. Here, the only issue in controversy was the identification of the
       defendant. The cause of death and the condition of the body were stipulated by the defense. The
       photographs were not probative on the issue of whether Dolan was “Dee.”
Old Chief II

       Issue: was offering the record Unfair prejudice under 403
       Holding: Yes
       Reasoning: When a court considers whether to exclude evidence on grounds of unfair prejudice, having
        other means of proof is an appropriate factor
            o When a prior conviction of an offense is likely to support conviction on some improper grounds
               the conclusion is that the risk of unfair prejudice did substantially outweigh the discounted
               probative value of the record or conviction and it was abuse of discretion to admit the record
               when an admission was available

People v Collins
     Facts: An old woman was robbed in an alley. She describes her assailant as a white female in dark
        clothes. A witness observes a white female with a ponytail get into a yellow car with a black male
        driver with a beard. The defendants loosely match the description of the people observed leaving the
     Procedural Posture: The prosecutor introduced an expert witness mathematician who testified
        concerning the product rule of mutually independent characteristics in a population. The prosecutor
        selected the categories, and assigned numbers to them, without any empirical basis. The jury convicted
        and the defendant appeals.
            o The prosecutor is not subject ot being cross examined and in this case he has given the
                mathematician his own figures of the product rule

       Issue: Whether the product rule of probabilities was properly applied in this case.
        Holding: No.
        Reasoning: The categories were not mutually exclusive. Also, the probabilities given had no
        foundation. Furthermore, they appeared to be beyond the defense attorney’s and the jury’s ability to
        understand. Thus, it is likely that this improperly used technique was accepted by the jurors, causing
        prejudicial error.

   A. Wright v Doe Tatham
         a. Facts: Tatham brought suit to set aside his deceased cousin’s will leaving property to Wright.
             The argument was that Marsden was not of sound mind when he made out the will. The D
             wanted to introduce into evidence 3 letters sent to Marsden addressing him directly on some
             business issues, the letter were being introduced to show that these individuals believed that
             Marsden was of sound mind
         b. Issue: Whether the act of mailing a letter can be introducted as evidence to suggest the writer
             believed the addressee was competent to act on it?
         c. Holding: No, Evidence of an at offered only to suggest 3rd person’s statements or opinions on a
             material issue, is inadmissible if the statements/opinions themselves would be inadmissible
                  i. The letters are relevant but they only indicate the writers belief that Marsden was
                     competent, they don’t prove that he was actually competent
                 ii. Letters are inadmissible to prove their content – the actual qualities that they imply
                     testator has – and so they are hearsay . Even if the writers would testify to the same, it
                     still would be hearsay
B. Cain v. George
      a. Facts: Son dies in a hotel room from carbon monoxide poisoning. Son’s parents sued Hotel for
          wrongful death alleging the heater was improperly installed and defective. At trial the D offered
          testified that other guests who had previously occupied the same room never complained about
          he heater. Jury found their son’s death was an accident. P’s appealed arguing that motel owners
          testimony was admitted in err because it was hearsay.
      b. Issue: Is Testimony that there was not prior complaint, admissible to suggest that there was no
          previous accident?
      c. Holding: Yes, Evidence of prior non complaint [aka “negative hearsay] is admissible to suggest
          there were not previous accidents.
      d. Reasoning: The testimony was not hearsay it was relevant on the issue that carbon monoxide
          came from the smoldering chair and clothing and not from the heater the evidence was
          admissible to show how the heater acted in the past.
               i. Evidence of non complaint is usually admissible becuae its an act not a statement
C. US v. Check
      a. Facts: When informer refuse to testify against drug dealing cop, prosecutor tries to evade the
          hearsay rule by asking an undercover agent to recount his side of the conversation with the
          informer. Check (D) argued that Spinellies (undercover agent) testimony was repeating hearsay
          from Cali (informant) and motioned to strike agents entire conversation.
      b. Issue: If a declarant is unavailable to testify, may attorneys introduce testimony by another
          about his statements in a conversation with the declarant?
      c. Holding: No. If a declarant is unavailable to testify, attorneys may not evade the hearsay rule by
          having another testify about his own statements in a conversation wit the declarant.
      d. Reasoning: Much of agents testimony was hearsay since it was an attempt to incorporate
          information supplied by informant who didn’t testify. Cant use this method to transform hearsay
          into admissible evidence. Entire testimony s/b thrown out.

D. US v. Singer
      a. Facts: D’s were prosecuted for transporting MJ and at their trial the prosecution offered an
          envelop addressed to both D’s as evidence that they lived together at that address. The D
          objected the letter was hearsay.
      b. Issue: Whether a mailed letter is admissible to prove the intended recipient lived there.
      c. Holding: Yes, a mailed letter is admissible to prove the writer believed the intended recipient
          lived at the address, and thus to prove the recipient actually lived there. The letter is inadmissible
          to assert the truth of its written contents [ that Amaden lived at 600 Wilshire], but is admissible
          nonhearsay when its purpose is to imply based on the landlords behavior that Amaden lived
      d. Reasoning: Justification is that while some actions don’t allow cross examination, they are
          unlikely to be false, sine no one would bother mailing a letter unless they believed the intended
          recipient received mail there. Therfore, in a “statement” [add listed] combined with a
          “performance’ [mailing the letter], the performance is admissible even though parts of the
          statement [letters content] may be inadmissible.

E. US v. Pacelli [before 801’s enactment]
      a. Facts: D allegedly killed Parks who had testified about D’s drug dealing. D’s associate Lipsky
          testified about statements made by D’s wife and co-conspirators mentioning how the body was
          disposed of, techniques of disposal & offered money for D to leave town. None of the co-
          conspirators expressly stated that D killed Parks. D was convicted & appealed arguing that trial
          court erred in admitting Lipsky’s hearsay testimony
      b. Issue: Is evidence of declarant’s stmts admissible?
           c. Holding: No, If a declarant doesn’t state that a material fact is true, but makes statements
              assuming its true, evidence of those statements is inadmissible to prove the assumption is true.
           d. Reasoning: the evidence is inadmissible because its hearsay since it is an extrajudicial statement
              implying knowledge and belief on part of 3rd persons who are unavailable for cross examinations

   F. Betts v. Betts
          a. Facts: In child custody hearing husband provided evidence that child’s foster mom testified that
              child told her that Wife’s new husband killed his brother [ though he was acquitted of those
              previous charges because of insufficient evidence]. Wife objected to the evidence as hearsay
          b. Issue: IS the child’s out of court statement that wife’s spouse committed a crime admissible?
          c. Holding: Yes, In a child custody hearing, a child’s out of court statement that parents spouse
              committed a crime is admissible to prove the child’s mental state and belief , which is sufficient
              to determine the child’s best interest.
                    i. RULE : The out of court non-hearsay statements which circumstantially indicate a state
                       of mind are admissible regardless of their truth
          d. Reasoning: If the statement is to be admitted as a hearsay exception, it must meet certain
              reliability requirements. But here girl’s statements are non-hearsay statements which
              cicrcumstantially indicate a state of mind, regardless of their truth, thus they are admissible if
              relevant. The statement is relevant as an indication that it wouldn’t be in her best interest to live
              with her mother and step dad , since she said she hated him
                    i. The girl’s statements we admissible to suggest that she believes the step dad killed her
                       brother , though they wouldn’t be admissible to suggest that he did.
Hearsay Exceptions
   G. State v. Smith
          a. Facts: Assault victim wrote a statement during police interrogation describing the details of the
              assault & identified Smith(D) as her assailant. She then had her statement notarized. At trial she
              testified that her assailant was Gomez and not Smith [claimed he had actually come to her aid].
              She admitted to her previous statement but said she was upset w/ Smith & that’s why she named
              him. Prosecutor introduced her statement for impeachment purposes & then moved to have it
              admitted as substantive evidence. D was found guilty. Trial court then reconsidered & granted
              new trial on grounds that 801(d)(1)(i) didn’t apply.
          b. Issue: Should the sworn statement be admitted as substantive evidence even though there was an
              inconsistent statement made during trial?
          c. Holding: Yes, In determining whether a statement is admissible as prior inconsistent statement
              under 801(d)(1)(A), a court must examine the purpose of the rule an facts of each case.
                    i. In each case realiability is the key, here the P voluntarily wrote the statement herself,
                       swore to it under oath w/ penalty of perjury, admitted at trial that she had made the
                       statement & gave an inconsistent statement at trial & was subject to cross examination
                       about the statement. So Rule 801(d)(1)(A) is satisfied under the totality of the
                   ii. “other proceeding” in the rule means Grand Jury proceeding and could mean police
                       station interrogation [though not a perse rule]
                 iii. in many cases inconsistent statements are more likely to be true than the testimony at trial
                       because it was made nearer the time of incident and less likely to be influenced by fear or
                  iv. Factors to consider
                           1. whether statement was made by declaratnt
                           2. whether it was truthful statement
                           3. whether statement was in her own words
                           4. jury could determine the truthfulness of her statements
                      5. original purpose of the sworn statement
                      6. whether the statement was taken as part of standard procedure for 4 legally
                         permissible methods for determining PC . 4 Methods:
                             a. filing an informationg by prosecutor
                             b. grand jury indictment
                             c. inquest proceeding
                             d. filing of a criminal complaint
               v. so other proceeding covers all of these ways of obtaining the information
H. Tom v US
      a. Facts: 4 year old daughter was sexually abused by father who had joint custody with his ex-wife
         – D was convicted . At trial the child wasn’t really responsive to questions about the abuse and
         on cross the defense attorney alluded to the fact that the allegations were motivated by the girl
         wanting to live wither her mother. Prosecutor offered testimony of 6 witnesses including the
         babysitter to whom the child had said she didn’t want to go back to her fathers home because he
         got drunk and treated her like his wife. 3 pediatricians also testified presenting tests showing
         vaginal penetration. The statements were admitted under 801(d)(1)(B) as prior consistent
         statements on the theory that they refuted the D’s claim that kid wanted to live with her mom.
      b. Issue: Are the out of court statements admissible when they are made after an alleged fabrication
         as to the substance of the statements?
      c. Holding: No, a prior consistent statement introduced to rebut a charge of recent:
         fabrication/improper influence/motive, is admissible only if the statement was made before the
         alleged fabrication was made not if the statements were made after fabrication
              i. Under 801(d)(1)(B) a witnesses out-of-court statements made prior to trial that are
                 consistent with trial testimony are admissible if certain condition are met:
                     1. statements to be admitted into evidence must be constituent with statements about
                         AT”S abuse given at trial
                     2. porsecutor must seek to rebut an express or implied charge against declarant of
                         recent fabrication
                     3. here fabrication dealt with D’s suggestions that AT was making up the statements
                         not because she was abused but so that she could live with her mother
                     4. the statements tended to D’s alleged true motive was not the same as AT”s motive
                     5. She as subject to cross examination about the statements
             ii. Even though the requirements of the rule were met it was because of the timing that they
                 were deemed inadmissible
      d. When the rule does apply it allows for use of prior consistent statement as substantive evidence
         [used to prove the truth of the proposition that it asserts in addition to the credibility of the
              i. If wintes hasn’t been impeached meaning there is no showing of fabrication.. , prior
                 consistent statemtns can’t be admitted into evidence

A. State v. Motta [ Prior Identification rule]
       a. Facts: P a coffee house cashier, was robbed at gun point by D. D was found guilty and he
           appealed arguing the admission of a police sketch drawn with the aid of the robbery victim was
           inadmissible hearsay.
       b. Issue: Are composite sketches of criminals admissible in court?
       c. Holding: Yes, Composite sketch is hearsay but still admissible under the hearsay exception for
           prior identification if it complies with 801(d)(1)(C), ie: if the declarant testifies at trial and is
           subject to cross-examination and the statement is one of identification after perceiving the person
               i. Both victim and sketch artist were available for cross examination so the danger that the
                   hearsay rule attempts to preclude is not present here
B. Bruton v. US [Spill over Confessions]
      a. Facts: During trial for armed postal robbery , a postal inspector testified that that during an
          interrogation Evans (D) confessed that he and Bruton (D) had committed the crime. Trial judge
          allowed the testimony against Evans as substantive evidence but instructed jury not to use it
          against Bruton since it was inadmissible hearsay. Both were convicted & appealed. Court held
          that Evan’s confession s/ not have been admitted against him reversing his conviction and as to
          Bruton stated that limiting instructions to the jury protected him against the harmful affects of
          Evan’s confession.
      b. Issue: Is a limiting instruction enough to protect one D when a co-D’s confession is admitted
          into evidence?
      c. Holding: No, Confessions are no admissible when 2 D’s being tried jointly and at least on D is
          not a party to the confession. Where powerful incriminating extrajudicial statements of a co-D
          who is accused side by side with the D are deliberately stated in front of the jury in a joint trial it
          is almost impossible to say that the jury with limiting instructions would be able to ignore the
          information presented against the other D.

C. US v. Hoosier [Tacit or Adoptive Admission Doctrine]
      a. Facts: Hoosier (D) was convicted of armed bank robbery on the testimony of 4 witnesses who
          identified him. 5th witness Rogers testified that he was with D both before and after the robbery.
          He testified that before the robbery D had told him he was going to rob the bank and a few weeks
          after the robbery he rant into him and saw him with lots of money and some diamond rings.
          Rogers’ girlfriend also testified that she saw sacks of money in his hotel room. D didn’t deny his
          crimes and he was convicted.
      b. Issue: can failure to deny the truth of incriminating statements be regarded as an admission?
      c. Holding: Yes, in some circumstances. When circumstances dictate that probable human
          behavior would be for a person to deny an incriminating statement made against him, but instead
          he remains silent, the incriminating statement can be admitted into evidence that he actually
          committed the charged crime.
      d. Reasoning: 801(d)(2)(B) : A statement is hearsay if the statement is offered against a party and
          is a statement of which the party has manifested an adoption or belief in its truth.
               i. A tacit admission is one that under the circumstances can be implied from a party’s
                   inaction such as in this case since D didn’t deny his girifirends declaration that he robbed
                   the bank he can be said to have manifested adoption of the truth of the admission. He was
                   probably instructed by his attorney to remain silent or anything can be used against you.
              ii. In order for the tacit admission doctrine to apply must satisfy elements:
                       1. adopting party must have heard the admission
                       2. adopting party must have knowledge of the matter asserted
                       3. context of the admission must have been such that a reasonable person would
                           have spoken up if there was no intent to adopt the admission

D. Doyle v. Ohio [Tacit or Adoptive Admission Doctrine]
      a. Facts: Informant was given money by police to buy MJ from D’s Doyle and Wood. After
          transaction D’s were pulled over and found the money in their car. D’s contended that Police
          handn’t seen what actually happened and argued that informant got angry because D’s didn’t
          want to buy that much MJ & threw the money in the car and took off. Although Doyle had
          changed his story from the preliminary hearing. On Cross examination the prosecutor brought up
          the fact that D hadn’t said anything to the police at the time of arrest, implying that if the story he
          was given was the truth he would have told the police at the time. D objected to his silence
      b. Issue: Can post Miranda warning silence be used to impeach a witness?
      c. Holding: No, it’s a violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th to use a person’s post
          Miranda silence for impeachment purposes.
               i. When a person’s silence may be attributable to a desire to invoke the protections of
                  Miranda, a prosecutor may not use that silence to impeach the D who tells a different
                  story on the stand

E. Mahlandt v. Wild Canid Survival
     a. Facts: P a three year old boy alleged to be bitten by a chained wolf belonging to the WCSRC.
         The director via 3 statements notified the board of the dog bite. The trial judge excluded the tree
         statements: director’s note to the president, his oral statement to the president and a note from the
         Directors meeting[ which was made by someone other than Poos] , based on lack of personal
         knowledge . P argues that all 3 items were admissible as admissions.
     b. Issue: Does 801(d)(2)(D) making statements made by agents w/I their scope of employment
         admissible , require personal knowledge on the part of the agent?
              i. Does 403 exclude the three items of evidence from trial?
     c. Holding: No, once its determined that the declarant is an agent and the statement in question was
         made w/I his scope of employement its admissible. The rule doesn’t require that the agent have
         personal knowledge of facts underlying his statement
              i. According to 801(d)(2) admission by party’s opponent should be given generous
                 treatment and thus Poo’s statement to the president is not unreasonably prejudicial.
     d. Reasoning: the note and oral statement to the president are admissible because they were made
         by the employee and it was related to his scope of employment[caring for the wolves], however
         the statement to the board is not admissible because not agency relationship exists
     e. Notes:
              i. Based on 801(d)(2)(D): statements made by agents are admissible against their principles
                 even if there is no authorization to speak as long as the statements concern a matter w/I
                 the scope of the agents’ employment during the existence of the relationship
                     1. no personal knowledge requirement on the part of the agent
                     2. statements of inferior are binding on supreriors – agents to president
                     3. statements by superiors are not always binding on inferiors

F. Bourjaily v. US
      a. Facts: FBI informant was to sell cocaine to Lonardo who agreed to find distributors. Londrado
          in a tape recording stated that he had friend D who had Q’s about the coke. Transaction was
          completed in a parking lot and both men were arrested. D was charged with conspiring to
          distribute & possession w/intent to distribute. Govnt watned to introduce Lonardo’s recorded
          statement about D’s participation & court allowed it under 801(d)(2)(E). D appealed

       b. Holding: Before admitting a co- conspirators statement over an objection that it doesn’t qualify
          under 801(d)(2)(E), a court must be satisfied that the statement actually falls w/I the definition of
          the rule. There must be evidence that there (1) there was a conspiracy, (2) statements were made
          in the course and (3) made in furtherance of the conspiracy.
               i. The existence of the conspiracy and D’s participation are preliminary Q’s of fact which
                  must be resolved under 104 by the court. When the preliminary facts relevant to rule
                  801(d)(2)(E) are disputed, the offering party must prove them by a preponderance of the
              ii. Rule 104 allows courts to make the preliminary factual determinations relevant to rule
                  801(d)(2)(E) by considering any evidence it wishes w/o being hindered by considerations
                  of admissibility.
       c. Reasoning:
               i. A piece of evidence unreliable in isolation may become quite probative when
                  corroborated by other evidence. – answer to D’s argument
                      1. D argues that the court should look at evidence other than the statements in
                          determining the preliminary Q’;s and that the evidence presented is unreliable
G. Nuttal v. Reading [Present Sense Exception]
      a. Facts: P sued Reading Railroad under the Federal Employer’s Liablity Act claiming that her
          husbands death was the result of the company forcing him to go to work though he was sick.
          First case P was awarded 30k, 2nd trial judge entered a DV against P. P appealed arguing
          evidence was improperly exluded: She testified that she heard her husband talk to the yardmaster
          telling him he was sick and his reply was “I guess I have to come out then” and after hanging up
          he told his wife “ I guess I have to go” .
      b. Issue: Were husbands statements admissible under any evidence rules?
      c. Holding: Yes, Hearsay statements made during and immediately following a conversation are
          admissible as present sense impressions, despite being hearsay because as a result of the
          immediacy requirement they involve not motive to lie and no opportunity to forget and thus they
          are considered trustworthy enough to be admitted.
      d. Reasoning: the Conversation tends to show that the deceased was being forced to do something
          and knowing that his superious was talking to him on the phone tends to show that the words he
          spoke to his wife after hanging up the phone show that he was being forced to go to work. Since
          the statements of present sense impression are made substantially at the time of the event they
          described was perceived, the are free from the possibility of lapse of memoery on the part of the

H. US v. Iron Shell [ Excited Utterance]
      a. Facts: D was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape. About an hour after the incident
          the victim gave statement to police that “tried to what you call it me” and officer at trial testified
          to her statement and stated that she was not hysterical or crying but did appear nervous and
          scared. He appealed his conviction arguing officers recitation of victims statements were
          inadmissible hearsay arguing abuse of discretion by trial court.
      b. Issue: Can statements made in response to police questioning constitute excited utterance? Yes
          but in some cases
      c. Holding: In order for 803(2) to apply it must appear that the declarant’s condition at the time
          was such that the statement was spontaneous, excited or impulsive rather than the product of
          reflection and deliberation. Affirmed
      d. Reasoning: 803(2) allows admission of otherwise competent hearsay when its in the form of a
          statement relating to the starting event or condition made while the declarant was under strees of
          excitement caused by the event or condition.
               i. Factors should be considered to determine whether the statement was an excited
                  utterance: here she gave abrupt answer to the question what happened not detailed
                  narrative indicating that she was agitated , the surprise of the assault, its shocking nature
                  and the age of the girl 9 , it was not abuse of discretion of the court to find that Lucy was
                  still under stress of the attack when she made the statements to the officer
                       1. Whether exicted utterance was made is decided by the judge not a jury and is
                          based on the subjective state of mind the victim and circumstances surrounding
                          the making of the statement
I. Mutual Life Ins v. Hillmon [ State of mind exception]
      a. Facts: Ins co refused to pay P her deceased husbands life insurance policy claiming that the body
          found near the creek could have belonged to Walters. To prove that he did go there , Ins co.
          introduced evidence of letters sent by Walters to his family showing his intent to go there. Trial
          court excluded the letters and Ins co appealed.
      b. Issue: When the intent of a party is itself a distinct and material fact in a chain of circumstances
          may it be proved by contemporaneous oral or written declarations of the party? Yes
      c. Holding: Admission of state of mind evidence regarding a person’s intent to perform a certain
          act as inferential proof that the person subsequently performed the act is admissible.
d. Reasoning: Walter’s letters indicated his intent to go to the Creek but they aren’t definite
   statements of what he actually did. The letters only indicated that his presence there would be
   likely. When the bodily or mental feelings of an individual are material to be proved the usual
   expression of such feelings are admissible into evidence. Reversed and remanded

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