Evidence: Law 6330 (4 Credits)

LAW 6330—Section 02BB
Professor Pedro A. Malavet
Fall 2015

Monday & Wednesday
3:00-4:50 p.m.

Room 355B

 

Course Description

A general course on Evidence focusing on admissibility at trial under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Four (4) Credits.

 

Course Canvas Page

  • I have published a Canvas course page on the UF eLearning system. In it you will find the following content:
    • PDF files (in the Files tab) with the text of all the Power Point presentations that I made last Spring when I taught this course.
      • I will update them as we cover the material this Fall
    • Two video presentations (in the Modules tab) explaining the US judicial system and the basics of the American oral jury trial.

First Day Assignment: Fall 2015

  • The assignments for the class sessions for our first week of the Fall 2015 are posted below
  • Future assignments will be posted in the Assignments and Notes Page.
    (This page has now been updated for the entire Fall 2014, and I expect few changes for the Fall 2015 term, except of course those required by the new edition of the casebook).
  • The required class materials are: (1) Christopher B. Mueller and Laird C. Kirkpatrick, EVIDENCE UNDER THE RULES (8th. ed., Aspen Law & Business 2015; ISBN: 978-1-4548-4952-0); (2) Mueller & Kirkpatrick, 2015: Federal Rules of Evidence: With Advisory Committee Notes and Legislative History (Aspen Law & Business 2015; ISBN: TBD).
    • DO NOT PURCHASE A USED SUPPLEMENT: The Rules Supplement is the 2015 edition, newly-issued in the summer of 2015. You are allowed to annotate the supplement with your own outline and no other supplement will be allowed in the examination room. You must purchase a printed version of the supplement if you wish to use it during the exam. Access to electronic versions will not be permitted during the examination.
    • Open Rules. “Open-Rules” means that you may have with you during the examination your required 2015 Mueller & Kirkpatrick Federal Rules of Evidence supplement. No substitutions will be allowed. Your supplements may be annotated with handwritten notes, but shall not have any attachments other than tabs to mark the location of specific material (the tabs may have on them numbers and the short titles of the referenced material and nothing more). Only handwriting may cover the blank spaces and the original printing on the supplements. The use of stick-on labels or paper, white-out or any other method to eliminate any of the original printing is prohibited. Other than the addition of handwritten notes and tabs, the supplements shall be in their original condition, no material may be added nor may any material be removed in any way. The supplements must be in their original bound form at the start of and throughout the examination.

Week One: August 17-19, 2015

    • Chapter: 1.0 Evidence Law and the System
    • Monday, August 17, 2015
      • Session 1-A
        • Class rules, testing, grading and administrative matters.
        • Review the Syllabus.
      • Session 1-B
        • 1.1 Introduction: Why Evidence & The Trial, 1-20
        • Pay special attention to What is the Record?, 13-20
    • Wednesday, August 19, 2015
      • Session 2-A
        • 1.2 How is Evidence Admitted, 20-31
        • Problem 1-A: How did it happen? (p. 26)
      • Session 2-B
        • 1.3 How Evidence is Excluded, 31-43
        • Consequences of Evidential Error, 44-50
        • Obtaining Review of Evidence Points, 50-51
        • Problem 1-B: He didn't object! (p. 50)

Fall 2014 Exam Feedback Memorandum and Review

Exam review will start after I post the feedback memorandum on the course website on Friday, February 6, 2015. Instructions for the review process will be included in the memorandum.

The Fall 2014 Feedback Memo is Here

The Fall 2014 Exam is Here

Procedure for Examination Review.

  • I will be available to discuss examination results during the Spring semester, beginning after Friday, February 6, 2015, when I post a feedback memorandum on my website.
  • You may pick up the exam from my Assistant, Ms. Karen Kays, in room 343. Please bring your exam number with you, as I keep them organized by exam number; you will also be asked for your student ID. You may make a copy of your exam answer and keep it for your records, but you have to return the original to me because faculty are required to keep exams for a few semesters.
  • If you are not physically in Gainesville, you are welcome to contact Ms. Kays via email and we will upload a scan of your exam to the course Sakai Site, and you will be able to access it using your gatorlink ID.
  • Review Policy. Examination review is a good way to learn from your mistakes, and from your successes. I encourage you to review my feedback memo and your exam. I will be happy to sit down and discuss substantive matters with each student. I will first tell each of you what you did right. I will also gladly suggest ways to improve your exam-taking abilities.
  • No Grade Changes. I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I have never changed an exam grade for any reason other than a mathematical error. Barring mathematical errors, your grade is not going to be changed. Grading is a time-consuming and difficult process. The only fair way to do it is to grade in the context of each class. I look for a fair overall grade distribution and follow the rank of each student within the class in awarding the final grade.

The Fall 2014 Practical Project

  • DUE DATE: Thursday, November 6, 2014, by 5:00 p.m.
  • File upload to the e-Learning on Canvas page.
    • All documents must be in either MS Word or PDF format and must be uploaded to the eLearning in Canvas course page using the Motion in Limine-Practical Project assignment created for that purpose.
    • The system will be set to allow multiple submissions up until the time of the final deadline. Uploading a file that is corrupted and cannot be opened will be treated as a failure to make a timely submission.
  • Click here to view the file

Spring 2014 Exam Review

The Feedback Memo is here: [Click here to view the Memo]

Power Point PDFs

  • I will post PDF files with the Power Point slides that I use in class in the eLEARNING/CANVAS course page. Click the eLearning link on the banner at the top of this page to login and download the files. The files are in the “Files” section of the course page.
  • I save the PPs in Outline format to make them more manageable, but I append any graphics or charts at the end.

“The Forest”

My general outline to deconstruct evidence problems in class —and in the exam.

Placeholder

  • From your left to your right, you start with the Preliminary Question:
    regular (FRE 104(a)) vs. conditional admissibility (FRE 104(b)).
  • You then move on to Part I:
    basic relevance question under FRE 401, which makes the evidence potentially admissible under FRE 402.
  • Then you move on to Part II:
    Is there a more specific admissibility or exclusion rule (e.g., FRE 801, FRE 404).
  • If you get past that, then you reach Part III:
    the FRE 403 balance (unless the rule in part II expressly states otherwise).
  • After Admission:
    If you admit, you also might still have to consider possible Limiting Instructions under FRE 105 or completeness admissibility under FRE 106, just to name two post admission rules.

Put Another Way

  • THE FOREST IN THE FIELD OF EVIDENCE
    ---> Preliminarily:
    Who Decides?
    Judge (FRE 104(a)) or Jury (FRE 104(b))
  • I. Is the evidence relevant?
    [FRE 401] [FRE 402]
  • II. More specific questions regarding admissibility
    e.g. [FRE 404] [FRE 801] [FRE 609]
  • III. FRE 403
    (a) What is the relevant evidence's probative value? [FRE 403]
    (b) Is the probative value substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice (or any of the other five reasons)? [FRE 403]
  • --->Post-admission:
    For what purpose is the evidence admitted?
    [FRE 105] This may also affect the 403 balance. (In other words, the limiting instruction may affect the balance.)
  • [FRE 106] The admission of a document may then allow the admission of the rest or parts of it.

Strength of the Evidence

The Summary Judgment or Judgment as Matter Law Standard

Placeholder

  • Note that the extreme left (from your perspective, looking towards the board) always represents 0%, meaning that no evidence at all exists to support the pertinent fact.
  • The start of the blackboard represents the start of the level of proof at which “Reasonable Minds” can find the fact to exist or not, and the strength of the evidence increases as you move from left to right, reaching the 50% mark in the middle of the two blackboards, and reaching preponderance at the start of the second blackboard.
  • The evidence becomes increasingly strong as you move along this continuum towards the mythical 100% or absolute truth of the fact alleged, which is represented by the extreme right corner of the classroom.

 

Exams

Examination Feedback Memoranda

Practical Projects

Practical Project Feedback Memoranda

Handouts & Resources