Evidence Help

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LawSchoolHelp2
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Evidence Help

Postby LawSchoolHelp2 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:00 am

Evidence newbie here.

A writes an email to B about C's experience with D.

Can this email be admitted into evidence while E is testifying?

I imagine there are both personal knowledge and hearsay issues? Can someone dream up any situation where this might fly?

Feel free to dumb this down as much as possible. Like I said, evidence novice here.

Thanks!

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Tanicius
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby Tanicius » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:22 am

The event in question is "C's experiences D."

First question is, who has personal knowledge of C and D's experiences besides these two? Was anyone watching them? Until we know that, there is a lack of personal knowledge problem on A's part. If A claims to know about C's experiences because C told him about those experiences, then it is hearsay.

To spell it out even more...

(C and D's experiences) as told by C, to A, are hearsay.

(C and D's experiences) as told by A, lack personal knowledge unless A was present during those experiences.


_______

Additionally, if B is relaying the contents of the email to others, then that would also be hearsay. It would be hearsay within hearsay. In other words, the email itself is hearsay; it is a statement made by A that was made outside of court.

_______

Finally, all of this assumes the occurrences between C and D are being offered for their truth and that they do not fall into a valid exception. We lack any information about whether either of those are the case.

Geist13
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby Geist13 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:23 am

admissibility of emails is very very complicated and well beyond what you need for your regular ol' evidence class. That is, unless your professor really wants to screw with you. Replace email with a standard statement and yeah you've got hearsay and relevance. Beyond that, no one can do a real analysis on this problem. You need more specific facts to address whether the hearsay can actually be admitted or not (the hearsay exceptions are fact specific).

LawSchoolHelp2
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby LawSchoolHelp2 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:29 am

Tanicius wrote:The event in question is "C's experiences D."

First question is, who has personal knowledge of C and D's experiences besides these two? Was anyone watching them? Until we know that, there is a lack of personal knowledge problem on A's part. If A claims to know about C's experiences because C told him about those experiences, then it is hearsay.

To spell it out even more...

(C and D's experiences) as told by C, to A, are hearsay.

(C and D's experiences) as told by A, lack personal knowledge unless A was present during those experiences.


_______

Additionally, if B is relaying the contents of the email to others, then that would also be hearsay. It would be hearsay within hearsay. In other words, the email itself is hearsay; it is a statement made by A that was made outside of court.

_______

Finally, all of this assumes the occurrences between C and D are being offered for their truth and that they do not fall into a valid exception. We lack any information about whether either of those are the case.


Thanks. To flesh it out more, A knows about C's experience with D through C. So, there is a hearsay issue. Maybe an exception can fit? If A's email is about how she felt upon hearing C's experience with D?

Another question, though, is how does this relate to E's testimony as a witness? How does this come into play?

Thanks again.

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Tanicius
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby Tanicius » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:36 am

The email is hearsay within hearsay then. A valid exception must apply to both the conversation between C and A, and the email itself. So just because A is offering statements in the email that go to A's state of mind (803.3), does not mean the original conversation between C to A is admissible.

Regarding E, the email only comes in while E is testifying if the email can be authenticated by someone. Under FRE 902(b), emails are generally presumed to be authentic copies of communication between the parties purportedly identified in the email's header.

Geist13
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby Geist13 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:49 am

Tanicius wrote:Regarding E, the email only comes in while E is testifying if the email can be authenticated by someone. Under FRE 902(b), emails are generally presumed to be authentic copies of communication between the parties purportedly identified in the email's header.


Really? Well, sure would have been nice for my professor to just say that instead of going on a 65 minute tangent.

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Tanicius
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby Tanicius » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:39 am

Geist13 wrote:
Tanicius wrote:Regarding E, the email only comes in while E is testifying if the email can be authenticated by someone. Under FRE 902(b), emails are generally presumed to be authentic copies of communication between the parties purportedly identified in the email's header.


Really? Well, sure would have been nice for my professor to just say that instead of going on a 65 minute tangent.



Scratch that. I got emails mixed up with signed documents. Authentication for emails is still pretty low though, according to my recollection of common law. As long as someone is available to testify that the email address belongs to someone, that's about all it takes.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby bgdddymtty » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:43 pm

One rather fundamental issue that hasn't really been fleshed out here yet is the purpose for which the contents of the email are being offered. Hearsay is an out-of-court statement introduced in court in order to prove the truth of the matter asserted. If the statement is being introduced for any other purpose (notice of a potentially dangerous condition, effect on the hearer, etc.), the statement is not hearsay. There might of course be other evidentiary issues, such as relevance, authentication, personal knowledge, or potential prejudicial effect.

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Tanicius
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Re: Evidence Help

Postby Tanicius » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:04 pm

bgdddymtty wrote:One rather fundamental issue that hasn't really been fleshed out here yet is the purpose for which the contents of the email are being offered. Hearsay is an out-of-court statement introduced in court in order to prove the truth of the matter asserted. If the statement is being introduced for any other purpose (notice of a potentially dangerous condition, effect on the hearer, etc.), the statement is not hearsay. There might of course be other evidentiary issues, such as relevance, authentication, personal knowledge, or potential prejudicial effect.


The problem is that it must apply to all steps. When someone is relaying the contents of conversation that already took place, they are necessarily asserting that the conversation took place and that the words really were said.




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