Evidence Assignments & Notes

LAW 6330 (4 credits)
Professor Pedro A. Malavet

Fall 2014: Section 02BB
Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-4:50 p.m.
Room 355B

This page displays your weekly assignment sheets and provides links to the detailed notes for each class session and topic.

Our two-hour sessions will be split into one-hour segments designated "A," for the first hour and "B," for the second.

Quicklinks by Week

General Comments

Fall 2014. The calendar and lesson plans for the semester will be posted and updated regularly on this page. Only assignments with dates between August and December of 2014 are updated.

Printing. Use the "print preview" command to view the precise pages that you wish to print out to refer to the latest reading assignments.

Assignment Sheets.
I will issue weekly assignment sheets with specific assignments, by posting them in the website. I will attempt to structure assignments by class session. Students, especially those who sign-up for a particular class, should check with me to make sure what material will be covered. Students must read the assigned pages in the text as well as the pertinent Federal Rules of Evidence in your Supplement. The Notes and Comments in the Rules are extremely helpful and should likewise be included in your reading.

Week One: August 18-20, 2014

Week Two: August 25-27, 2014

Week Three: September 3, 2014

Please note that Monday, September 1, 2014, is the Labor Day Holiday and all classes are canceled.

Week Four: September 8-10, 2014

Week Five: September 15-17, 2014

Week Six: September 22-24, 2014

Week Seven: September 29-October 1, 2014

Week Eight: October 6-8, 2014

Week Nine: October 13-15, 2014

Week Ten: October 20-22, 2014

Week Eleven: October 27-29, 2014

I have chosen not to add a session each on Bullcoming v. New Mexico, issued in June 2011, and Williams v. Illinois, issued in June 2012. I have posted pdf files with the text of both opinions in eLearning/CANVAS. I will provide a short synopsis of each case, to the extent possible, given the divided nature of the decisions.

Bullcoming involved blood-alcohol lab reports in a drunk driving prosecution. The majority, 5-4, applied Crawford to label them "testimonial" and thus to require a result similar to Melendez-Diaz.

Williams involved the use of forensic reports of DNA analysis prepared at an outside laboratory (independent relative to law-enforcement) by a state technician who testified at trial and conducted separate testing of her own. This was a bench trial, and the court emphasized that the judge, unlike a jury, would not be confused about the proper use of the evidence. The plurality opinion by Justice Alito announced the result, but only garnered four full votes (his own and that of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy and Breyer), Justice Breyer issued a separate opinion concurring in the ruling (but indicating he would have wanted additional briefing and reargument during the next term); Justice Thomas issued a separate opinion concurring in the judgment but concluding that the private laboratory report was too "informal" to be considered "testimonial"; Justice Kagan issued a lengthy dissent joined by Justices Scalia, Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

An edited version of Bullcoming is in your Rules Supplement, at pages 393-401, and the notes following it describe Williams, at pages 401-2.

BUT THE SKY IS NOT FALLING

Yes, the court has made a bit of a mess of the area of laboratory reports with Williams. However, Michigan v. Bryant shows you where the real fun is: All justices in the current court agree with the new interpretation the Sixth Amendment to bar the use of “Testimonial” hearsay absent a showing of unavailability and a prior opportunity to cross-examine, and they all buy into the Emergency Doctrine. They just disagree on what CLASSIFIES as “Testimonial” or as an “Ongoing Emergency”. Normal judicial discretion differences. But they agree on the categories that represent a total abandonment of Ohio v. Roberts as a constitutional standard for applying the Confrontation Clause. Quite remarkable.

Week 12: November 3-5, 2014

Week 13: November 10-12, 2014

TUESDAY November 11, 2014 is the Veterans Day Holiday. But we will hold our normal classes on Monday and Wednesday.

Week 14: November 17-19, 2014

Week 15: November 24, 2014

Only one day of class this week. No classes are scheduled for Wednesday, November 26, 2014, to allow for Thanksgiving travel.

Review Session

  • Review Session:
    • Date: TBA
    • Time: TBA
    • Room: TBA
  • Review Session and More Exam Discussion
  • (Note that I will NOT answer substantive questions after the review session).
    • I will take the first half hour to one hour to go over basic exam instructions and my general exam expectations;
    • I will also take this time to describe how you could have constructed a good exam answer using the facts of the Practical Project.
    • Then, I will take specific questions. Please be prepared to reference a Rule of Evidence, a common law doctrine, a case or a casebook page number. I will only address matters that I covered in class.
    • I will stay as long as students have questions, but students may leave any time they wish.
  • EXAMSOFT
    • Examsoft use will be permitted‚ and is indeed highly encouraged‚ to answer the essay question. Each student will be responsible for keeping track of their answer's length and shall be required to log into the examsoft template at the start of the examination. The template should be available for download a few days before the exam.
  • How to Take An Exam From Me
  • Exam Date and Time:
    • Friday, December 5, 2014
    • 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    • However, you must arrive no later than 8:15 in order to ensure an on-time start and so as to avoid distractions from the next exam group.
  • EXAM ROOMS: TBA

Tentative Changes for Fall 2015