Spring 2016

Class having been cancelled on Thursday, 4/21/16, the assigned make-up class is for you to watch these two presentations from last summer covering the same material. The first presentation is at this link. It is a brief gap-filler. The second presentation is at this link. It is a regular class session. Assuming that 3/4 of the class do that before our next class, we will move on to Lesson 27 about privileges on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Please email Professor Snyder if you have any questions about that material on expert witnesses.

For simulcast by prearrangement, try https://webconference.syr.edu/evidence/ and sign-in with SU credentials.

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Lesson #1 on 1/14/16
Page:

Part I:  Introduction to Evidence

 

·         Study Guide

xxv

·         Chapter 1 – Why Take This Course?

1

·         Chapter 2 – Types of Courtroom Evidence

6

·         Chapter 3 – Four W’s of the Federal Rules

20

·         Chapter 4 – Structure of a Trial

32

Lesson #2 on 1/19/16
 

·         Chapter 5 – Raising and Resolving Evidentiary Objections

40

   

Part II:  Relevance and Undue Prejudice

55

·         Chapter 6 – Relevance

55

Lesson #3 on 1/21/16
 

·         Chapter 7 – Prejudice, Confusion, or Waste of Time

69

·         Handouts: Old Chief case and Flight as Evidence of Guilt

 
Lesson #4 on 1/26
 

·         Chapter 8 – Fitting the Rules Together

85

   

Part III:  Specialized Article IV Rules

88

·         Chapter 9 – Subsequent Remedial Measures

88

·         Chapter 13 – Liability Insurance

150

Lesson #5 on 1/28/16
 

·         Chapter 10 – Settlements and Offers to Compromise

106

·         Chapter 11 – Medical Expenses

127

·         Chapter 12 – Criminal Plea Bargaining

135

Lesson #6 on 2/2/16
 

Part IV:  Witnesses

157

·         Chapter 14 – Putting a Witness on the Stand

157

·         Chapter 15 – Examining Witnesses

174

Lesson #7 on 2/4/16
 

·         Chapter 16 – Refreshing a Witness’s Memory

195

   

Part V:  Impeachment

207

·         Chapter 17 – Impeaching Witnesses

207

·         Chapter 18 – Using Prior Statements to Impeach Witnesses

217

   
Lesson #8 on 2/9/16
 
Please review Chapter 18 and prepare:  

·         Chapter 19 – Revealing Untruthful Character on Cross-Examination

236

·         Chapter 20 – Using Criminal Convictions to Impeach

248

   
[Class was cancelled on Thursday, 2/11/16.]  
Lesson #9 on 2/16/16
 

·         Chapter 21 – Reputation or Opinion Evidence of Untruthful Character

269

·         Chapter 22 – Cross-Examining the Character Witness

278

Lesson #10 on 2/18/16
 

·         Chapter 23 – Religious Beliefs and Impeachment

284

·         IN-class review of Impeachment

 

Part VI:  Rule of Completeness (Chapter 24)

288

   
Lesson #11 on 2/23/16
 

Part VII:  Character Evidence

293

·         Chapter 25 – Character Evidence and the Rules

293

·         Chapter 26 – Evidence to Prove Character as an Element

304

·         Chapter 27 – Using Character Evidence to Prove Propensity

314

Lesson #12 on 2/25/16
 

·         Chapter 28 – Character Evidence to Show Propensity in Criminal Prosecutions

320

·         Chapter 29 – Method of Proving Propensity in Criminal Cases

330

·         START Chapter 30 – Crimes, Wrongs, or Other Acts. Please read the entire chapter, if you can.

         - Handout - sample of 404(b) pleading

343

Lesson #13 on 3/1/16
 

·         FINISH Chapter 30 – Crimes, Wrongs, or Other Acts .

         - Handout - sample of 404(b) pleading

343

·         Chapter 31 – Habit

369

Lesson #14 on 3/3/6
 

·         Chapter 32 – Rape Shield Law

379

·         Chapter 33 – Propensity in Sexual-Assault and Child-Molestation Cases

398

   

Part VIII:  Preliminary Questions (Chapter 34)

407

[Class was cancelled on Tuesday March 8, 2016.]  
 [Note for 3/8/16: Even though we still have a large chunk of Lesson 14 to do, I expect we will get into Lesson 15 during Tuesday, 3/8. I recommend reading the four introductory chapters for hearsay (Chapters 35 through 38) even though we won't make it through all four chapters on 3/8/16.]  
Lesson #15 on 3/10/16
 

Part IX:  Introduction to Hearsay

425

·         Chapter 35 – What Is Hearsay and Why Don’t We Like It?

 

·         Chapter 36 – The "Truth of the Matter Asserted"

438

·         Chapter 37 – What Is a Statement?

451

·         Chapter 38 – Admissible Hearsay

462
   
Lesson #16 after Break on 3/22/16
 
Review Chapters 37 & 38 from the previous assignment, plus Chapters 39 & 40.  

Part X: Hearsay Exemption—Prior Statements by Witnesses

(Chapter 39)

468

Lesson #17 on 3/24/16 (actual covergae)
 

Part XI:  Rule 803 Exceptions

491

·         Chapter 40 – Present Sense Impressions and Excited Utterances

 
   
Lesson #18 on 3/29/16 (Revised 3/26)
 

·         Chapter 41 – State of Mind

505

·         Chapter 42 – Medical Treatment

524
   
Lesson #19 on 3/31/16
 

·         Chapter 43 – Recorded Recollection

537

·         Chapter 44 – Hearsay Within Hearsay

548

·         Chapter 45 – Business Records

555
Lesson #20 on 4/5/16
 

·         Chapter 46 – Public Records

570

·         Chapter 47 – Other 803 Exceptions

582
   
Lesson #21 on 4/7/16
 

Part XII:  Rule 804 Exceptions

596

·         Chapter 48 – Rule 804 Introduction—What Is Unavailability?

 

·         Chapter 49 – Former Testimony

603

·         Chapter 50 – Dying Declarations

614
Lesson # 22 MAKEUP on Friday 4/8/18
 

·         Chapter 51 – Statement Against Interest

620

·         Chapter 52 – Forfeiture

630

Part XIII:  Opposing Party Statements

637

·         Chapter 53 – Statements by Opposing Parties

 

·         Chapter 54 – Statements by Opposing Parties in the Context of Multiple Parties

651
Lesson #23 4/12/16
 

·         Chapter 55 – Statements of Coconspirators

666
   

Part XIV:  Hearsay Conclusion

682

·         Chapter 56 – Residual Exception

682

·         Chapter 57 – Attacking a Declarant’s Credibility

692
Lesson # 24 on 4/14/16
 

·         Chapter 58 The Sixth Amendment and Hearsay

700
   

Part XV:  Judicial Notice (Chapter 59) [Part of Lesson 27, below]

735

   
Lesson #25 on 4/19/16
 

Part XVI:  Opinion and Expert Testimony

747

·         Chapter 60 – Lay Opinions

 

·         Chapter 61 – What Subjects Are Appropriate for Expert Testimony?

759

·         Chapter 62 – Qualifying Experts

777
Lesson #26 on 4/21/16
 
Class having been cancelled on Thursday, 4/21/16, the assigned make-up class is for you to watch these two presentations from last summer covering the same material. The first presentation is at this link. It is a brief gap-filler. The second presentation is at this link. It is a regular class session. Assuming that 3/4 of the class do that before our next class, we will move on to Lesson 27 about privileges on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.  

·         Chapter 63 – Bases of Expert Opinion

785

·         Chapter 64 – Limits on Opinion and Expert Testimony

805

·         Chapter 65 – Court-Appointed Experts

821
   
Lesson #27 on 4/26/16
 

Part XVII:  Privileges

826

·         Chapter 66 – Introduction to Privileges

 

·         Chapter 67 – Attorney-Client Privilege

835

·         Chapter 68 – Other Privileges

Preclass slides.

857
   
Lesson #28 cyber lecture - Click HERE to go to page to view or to download.
 

Part XVIII:  Authentication, Best Evidence, and Presumptions

875

·         Chapter 69 – Authentication

875

·         Chapter 70 – Best Evidence

893

·         Chapter 71 – Presumptions

912
   
Lesson #28 on 4/26/16
 
•       Review Lesson 26, above, on privileges.  

·         Review course in general

 

Part XIX:  The Role of the Jury (Chapter 72)

924

   
Examination - Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at 1:00 PM in Room 440.

Video of examination process discussion.

Sample Prior exams, on prior exams page.

 

 

 

Evidence law is about the limits we place on the information juries hear. This course examines these limits, their boundaries, their ambiguities, and how they work in practice. We will attempt to master the Federal Rules of Evidence. It is essential to know what the Rules say and how judges enforce them. It is just as important to know when the meaning of a rule is unclear and on what grounds courts decide close calls.

We will also address some policy issues, such as: Why have evidence rules anyway? Why should we put limits on the information juries hear?

This course centers on the Federal Rules of Evidence, which govern in the great majority of federal judicial proceedings. At last count, forty-two states and Puerto Rico have adopted the Federal Rules in whole or in great part.  Even those eight states that have adopted distinct evidence codes or have not codified their evidence law -- California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Virginia -- adhere to similar evidence principles. Stunningly, New York has not codified its law of evidence at all.

You can see the specific topics later in this syllabus, but in summary we will cover: procedural and substantive rules of evidence, judicial notice, presumptions and burdens of proof, rules governing the receipt of oral and documentary evidence, impeachment, direct and cross-examination, competency, hearsay, privileges, and the best evidence rules.

Class Meeting Times:

Class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:40 p.m. in Room 350.

.

Required Reading:

Title: Merritt and Simmons's Learning Evidence: From the Federal Rules to the Courtroom, 3d (American Casebook Series®)

Authors: Merritt, Deborah; Simmons, Ric

Publisher: West

ISBN-13: 9781628101003

Series: American Casebook Series®

Copyright: 2015

The book is available in traditional hardbound format or, for about $50 less, as an online book (12-month license for online use only).  Unfortunately, there is no discounted price for purchasing both the hardbound and the online version together as a package.

Here is the 2012 Supplement in Word format.

All materials other than the primary text will be available on the course website at www.FedREvid.com.  All required readings are essential.  Note: unlike in other courses of mine, not everything projected in class will be available on the website.  We will often use video clips to illustrate a problem, and, in most cases, copyright restrictions prevent me from posting those for you to download.

This is new as of 4/25/16.

Key Dates

March 8- 15 - Spring Break
March 25, 2015 - no class
April 22, 2015 - last class
May 6, 2015 - final examination

Prior Students:

Students who have taken Evidence from Professor Snyder in the past -- especially those studying for a bar examination -- may request credentials to access the materials on this site..