Spring 2015
    Law No.: LAW8656
    Sched. No.: 115210021

Practical Trial Evidence: Principles and Practice*
Section 1
Crigler, B W.
Livingston, Ronald L.
Sinclair, Kent

Administrative Information:
During SIS enrollment, check on SIS for real-time enrollment numbers
Days, Times (Room):R, 1600-1800 (SL292)
Capacity:16 **This information is current as of 05/22/2015 06:14:34 AM**
Current Enrollment:19 **This information is current as of 05/22/2015 06:14:34 AM**

Course Description:

This Principles and Practice class will explore the most commonly encountered evidentiary challenges in litigation today. The instructors have selected a number of the issues and problems in practical trial evidence that practicing attorneys must master to reach the top level of trial skills. These keys to success include forms of proof where the factual foundations are challenging, the law demands unexpected elements to support offered proof, or the unwritten aspects of trial practice interfere with text-book efforts to get proof in the record. Students will learn how to select among options to achieve evidentiary goals: different routes to obtain admission for the same or equivalent proof (and alternative objections to attain exclusion). The federal rules of evidence will be used in this class for most activities, and students will become familiar with the most important procedures that commonly face trial lawyers under these rules, along with several evidentiary issues where evolving case doctrines leave dramatic room for lawyering skill to make all the difference in determining whether items of proof are received, and thus whether cases are won or lost.

Class meets regularly in a Moot Court room. Each week, students will present testimony, argument, and exhibits based on detailed factual situations providing realistic evidentiary content, and hence realistic challenges. When not serving as the proponent of one or another form of proof, students will sometimes be designated to serve as opponents obligated to make all appropriate objections and to press them in professional litigation fashion. Class members and outsiders will serve as witnesses as needed.
Each of the evidence issues covered in this class will be explored in greater depth than the basic Evidence class permits. Specific proof assignments, realistic fact patterns and exhibits, will make the learning concrete as doctrine is meshed with facts and the reality of courtroom practice. The class is also not intended as a basic Trial Advocacy course (and is not Mutually Exclusive with sections of that course). The focus of this class is on the evidentiary requirements and the litigation practices implementing them. However, a student will inevitably pick up (or have refreshed) a variety of critical courtroom skills in witness examination, objection, and oral argument along the way.

Among the issues to be explored in complex partial-trial simulations are problems of limited admissibility, partial communications (oral, taped, or computer-related), in limine rulings, character and habit proof, subsequent remedial measures, impeachment (particularly complex criminal record impeachment and impeachment with prior inconsistent statements), rehabilitation of impeached witnesses, and expert proof. A half-dozen key hearsay definitions and exceptions will be explored in depth, including the state of mind rules, and problems involving medical records, business and governmental records (paper and electronic). Issues of authentication and management of physical proof will arise throughout the course, and attention will be paid to the use of original, duplicate, and summary exhibits. Several fact situations will be used on a recurring basis during the semester. Each week, selected segments from a trial involving those facts will be presented, argued and discussed.

Most evidence advocacy at trial is oral, and this class will provide in-depth instruction on the proper manner for making and preserving arguments on your feet. A popular practitioner’s guide to the rules of evidence will be provided to each student, and other readings will be assigned for background on legal issues in evidentiary assignments. Two short memoranda of law may be required, typical of “overnight” memos often required during trial to oppose or support the offer of specific items of evidence. Eighty-five percent of the grade will be determined by students’ oral participation in evidentiary activities and oral discussion of the issues they pose, and 15 percent will reflect the written submissions.

NOTE: Laptops are not allowed during class sessions.

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT: Enrolled students who do not attend the first class session will be dropped. Students seeking to enroll in this course must attend the first class session.
COURSE REQUIREMENT: Oral participation in evidentiary activities and two short briefs

This course is on the professional skills course list.