Procedure 1. Introduction of Documents or Physical Evidence



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Procedure 1. Introduction of Documents or Physical Evidence



Sometimes the parties wish to offer as evidence letters, affidavits, contracts, or other documents, or even physical evidence such as a murder weapon, broken consumer goods, etc. Special procedures must be followed before these items can be used in trial.

 

Step 1: Introducing the Item for Identification

a. An attorney says to the judge, "Your Honour, I wish to have this (letter, document, item) marked for identification as (Plaintiff’s Exhibit A, Defence’s Exhibit A, etc.)."

b. The attorney takes the item to the clerk, who marks it appropriately.

c. The attorney shows the item to the opposing counsel.

d. The attorney shows the item to the witness and says, "Do you recognize this item marked as Plaintiff’s Exhibit A?"

Witness: "Yes."

Attorney: "Can you, please, identify this item?"

Witness: "This is a letter I wrote to John Doe on September 1." (Or witness gives other appropriate identification.)

e. The attorney may then proceed to ask the witness question about the document or item.

Step 2. Moving the Document or Item into Evidence.

If the attorney wishes the judge or the jury to consider the document or item itself as part of the evidence and not just as testimony about it, the attorney must ask to move the item into evidence at the end of the witness examination. The attorney proceeds as follows:

a. The attorney says, "Your Honour, I offer this (document / item) into evidence as Plaintiff’s Exhibit A, and ask that the court admits it."

b. Opposing counsel may look into the evidence and make objections at this time.

c. The judge rules on whether the item may be admitted into evidence.

Procedure 2. Impeachment

On cross - examination, an attorney wants to show that the witness should not be believed. This is best accomplished through a process called "impeachment", which may use one of the following tactics: (1) asking questions about prior conduct of the witness that makes the witness’ truthfulness doubtful (e.g., "Isn’t it true that you once lost a job because you falsified expense reports?"); (2) asking about evidence of certain types of criminal convictions (e.g., "You were convicted of shoplifting, weren’t you?"); or (3) showing that the witness has contradicted a prior statement, particularly one made by the witness in an affidavit. Witness statements in the Mock Trials Materials are considered to be affidavits.

In order to impeach the witness by comparing information in the affidavit to the witness’ testimony, attorneys should use this procedure:

Step 1. Repeat the statement the witness made on direct or cross - examination that contradicts the affidavit.

Example: "Now, Mrs. Burke, on direct examination you were out of town on the night in question, didn’t you?" (Witness responds, "Yes.")

Step 2. Introduce the affidavit for identification, using the procedure described in Procedure 1.

Step 3. Ask the witness to read from his or her affidavit the part that contradicts the statement made on direct examination.

Example: "All right, Mrs. Burke, will you read paragraph three?" (Witness reads, "Harry and I decide to stay in town and go to the theatre.")

Step 4. Dramatize the conflict in the statements. (Remember, the point of this line of questioning is to demonstrate the contradiction in the statements, not to determine whether Mrs. Burke was in town or out of town.)

Example: "So, Mrs. Burke, you testified that you were out of town on the night in question, didn’t you? " "Yes." "Yet, in your affidavit you said you were in town, didn’t you?" "Yes."

 

Procedure 3. Qualifying an Expert

Only a witness who is qualified as an expert may give an opinion as to scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge in the area of his/her expertise. (Note: A lay witness may give an opinion about something related to one’s common experience (see Rule 6).) Expert cannot give opinions on the ultimate issue of the case.

Before an expert gives his/her expert opinion on a matter, the lawyer must first qualify the expert. First, the lawyer must lay a foundation that shows the expert is qualified to testify on issues related to that expert’s field of expertise. To lay a foundation, the lawyer asks the expert to describe factors such as schooling, professional training, work experience and books he/she has written that make a person an expect regarding a particular field. Second, once the witness has testified about his/her qualifications, the lawyer asks the judge to qualify the witness as an expert in a particular field.

Example: The wife of Harold Hart is suing Dr. Smith and General Hospital for malpractice. She claims they did not treat Mr. Hart for an obvious heart attack when he was brought to the hospital. Mrs. Hart’s lawyer is examining expert witness, Dr. Jones:

 

Q: Dr. Jones, what is your occupation?

A: I am a heart surgeon. I am Chief of Staff at the Howard University Medical Center.

Q: What medical school did you attend?

A: I graduated from Georgetown Medical School in 1978.

Q: Where did you do your internship?

A: I did a two year internship in cardiology at John Hopkins University from 1978 - 1980.

Q: Did you afterwards specialize in any particular field of medicine?

A: Yes, I specialized in heart attack treatment and heart surgery.

Q: Have you published any articles or books?

A: I wrote a chapter in a medical text on heart surgery procedures after heart attacks.

Q: Describe the chapter.

A: I set out the steps for identifying heart attacks and doing open heart surgery.

Q: What professional licenses do you have?

A: I am certified by the D.C. Board of Medical Examiners to practice medicine in D.C.

 

Attorney #1: Your Honour, I ask that Dr. Jones be qualified as an expert in the field of medicine.

Judge: Any objection?

Attorney #2: We object. No foundation has been laid regarding Dr. Jones’s ability to render an opinion as to all fields of medicine.

Judge: Objection sustained. Dr. Jones’ expertise seems to be limited to certain areas of medicine.

Attorney #1: Thank you, your Honour. We ask that Dr. Jones be qualified as an expert in the field of heart surgery.

Judge: Any objection?

Attorney #2: No, your Honour.

Judge: Let the record reflect that Dr. Jones is qualified to testify as, an expert in the field of heart surgery.

Once qualified, an expert may give opinions relating only to the expert’s area of expertise. That is, an expert cannot give an opinion in an area outside his/her expertise.

 

Example: (Dr. Jones has been qualified as an expert on heart surgery.)

Q: Dr. Jones, what is your opinion as to Mr. Hart’s cause of death?

A: The patient suffered a massive heart attack caused by clogged arteries.

Q: Dr. Jones, in your opinion was the patient also suffering from a rare lung disease transmitted thought contact with the North American mongoose as the defence contends?

Objection: The witness is testifying outside her area of expertise.

Judge: Sustained. Please, confine your opinion to matters related to care and treatment of the heart.

Q: Dr. Jones, in your opinion, how should the patient’s doctors have treated him?

A: They should have recognized that the patient was having a heart attack based on his chest pains, purple face, difficulty breathing, and numbness in his left arm. They should have given him the proper medication and treated him in the emergency room right away.

Q: Who was at fault in this matter?

A: Dr. Smith and General Hospital were definitely negligent.

Objection: The witness is testifying to the ultimate issue of the case, which is whether Dr. Smith and General Hospital are liable for malpractice. That is a question of fact for the judge (or jury, when the case is tried before a jury) to decide.

Judge: Sustained.

 

Прочитайте и переведите текст 3. Выступите как участники игрового судебного процесса. Разыграйте роли судьи, подсудимых, прокурора, адвоката, свидетелей защиты и свидетелей обвинения, судебных экспертов стороны защиты и стороны обвинения, присяжных. Вы можете по своему усмотрению добавить факты и ситуации, относящиеся к этому делу.

TEXT

CASE

 

On August 22, 1990, shortly after midnight, Jaeger called 911 from his home and reported that his nineteen-year-old live-in girlfriend, Mary Barndt, had shot herself. When police and paramedics arrived, they found Mary partially clothed and lying in the kitchen. A. 22 caliber pistol was lying pretty close to her right foot, and an empty shell casing was found between her ankles. The police also found a bra next to her body.

Mary was unconscious and had a week pulse when the paramedics began to treat her injuries. The bullet entered her neck just above her clavicle and had struck her subclavian artery, causing severe internal bleeding. In an attempt to preserve evidence, one of the police officers taped brown paper bags on Mary’s hands. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Jaeger told one of the officers that when he arrived home from work at about 7:30 p. m., the house appeared empty. However at 8:30 p. m., he discovered Mary’s thirteen-month-old daughter alone in a back bedroom. He admitted that he was angry and upset that Mary had left the child unattended. He called Judy Clark, Mary’s mother, in an attempt to locate Mary, but she did not know Mary’s whereabouts. Jaeger also told police that when Mary finally returned home at around 12:10 a.m., he told her that he was tired of her lying and wanted her out of the house by the next day. He said that he then called her mother again and that after a struggle, Mary reluctantly took the phone. He asserted that after Mary began talking to her mother, he threw a blanket and pillow into the hall for her and he then went to bed. He stated that he later awoke to a bang and that he found Mary lying unconscious on the kitchen floor. He maintained that she shot herself.

However, other evidence contradicted Jaeger’s story. The police swabbed both Jaeger’s and Mary’s hands for gunshot residue (“GSR”). These swabs were then taken to the state crime lab and examined by two separate experts. Both experts concluded that the swabs taken from Jaeger’s hands contained elements of GSR while the swabs taken from Mary’s hands did not. Thus the GSR evidence suggested that Jaeger, not Mary, had fired a gun. In addition to the GSR evidence, Dr. Edward A. Leis, the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, performed an autopsy on Mary’s body. The autopsy showed that Mary died from a gunshot wound to the neck. Moreover, on the basis of the autopsy results, Dr. Leis opined that Mary’s death was a homicide, not a suicide.

The State charged Jaeger with second degree murder. However, at the preliminary hearing on that charge, the magistrate dismissed the information for lack of probable cause. The State appealed from the dismissal, and the court of appeals reversed. The central issue at Jaeger’s trial was whether Mary’s death was a suicide or a homicide. During trial, Jaeger sought to admit certain medical records from Valley Mental Health’s Adolescent Residential Treatment & Education Center (“ARTEC”). Mary was a resident of ARTEC from 1986 to 1987 because she was ungovernable, ran away from home, and abused alcohol and drugs. The ARTEC records contained statements Mary allegedly made admitting that she had attempted suicide in the past but denying any suicidal ideation while a resident of the program. The State objected to the admission of the records; the court sustained the objection, ruling that they were irrelevant.

Jaeger was ultimately convicted as charged and was sentenced to serve a term of five years in prison. Thereafter, he moved for a new trial on the basis that the trial court erroneously excluded evidence of Mary’s past suicide attempt. The court denied the motion. Jaeger now appeals.

 

UNIT 6. TEST YOUSELF

1. Выберите правильный вариант ответа.

 

1. The adversarial system of justice means that ________

a) judges investigate the cases before them

b) judges reach the decisions based only on the evidence presented to them by the parties to the dispute

c) judges investigate the case and collect evidence

 

2. Criminal proceeding is brought by _________

a) the police

b) any private person

c) prosecution

 

3. In the jury trial the jury _________

a) are witnesses, summoned for their local knowledge

b) are impartial judges of the facts of the case

c) apply law to the facts of the case

 

4. A defendant has the right to challenge any of the jurors if _________

a) he can give a good reason for the objection

b) he could give a good reason for the objection

c) he had been able to give a good reason for the objection

 

5. The indictment is a document which contains __________

a) charges

b) the appropriate punishment

c) the offences

d) a good reason for objecting jurors.

 

6. If a witness gives false evidence in court, he ____________

a) may be charged with the criminal offence of perjury

b) may not be charged with the criminal offence of perjury

c) may be charged with the criminal offence of perjury rarely.

 

7. Deciding what the punishment should be the judge must ____________

a) consider the effect that the offence has had on society;

b) know a good deal about the barrister for the prosecution;

c) consider the effect that the offence has had on the victim of the crime.

 

 



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