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Questions tagged [rules-of-evidence]

Rules that apply to the admission of evidence in a trial.

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18 votes
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How did Dominion legally obtain text messages from Fox News hosts?

In the current case of Dominion v Fox News, we saw that text messages from Fox News hosts have been admitted as legal evidence in court. My understanding was that text messages either had to be turned ...
DevShark's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
3k views

How is the burden of evidence distributed between parties?

I'm curious as to how the US legal system determines who should present evidence and how much evidence is required by them to prove one side of an argument against a counterargument. Here's an ...
Brian R's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is it allowed to non-consensually submit someone's diary as evidence?

In episode 12, season 4 of The Office, called "The Deposition", the diary of a witness (Michael Scott) is used as evidence, without the witness's consent. The diary was taken by the suer, ...
user110391's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
7k views

Can punishments be weakened if evidence was collected illegally?

Suppose police are investigating a burglary case. Under law, COVID-19 contact tracing data can only be used for contact tracing and nothing else. However a team decides to analyze the data anyway to ...
dfc2136's user avatar
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12 votes
6 answers
8k views

What would you be charged with for covering up a rightful death?

I'm referring to a specific situation that occurred in the TV show 24. Due to previous complex circumstances, a man (call him "Bob") destroys a van that is the scene of a murder and hides 2 ...
Ethan's user avatar
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11 votes
10 answers
7k views

Are there any criminal jurisdictions where burden of proof rests so entirely on prosecution that defense does not need to deal with evidence?

In criminal trial processes that I'm aware of, particularly adversarial, burden of proof is nominally with the prosecution in most circumstances, but in practice it seems to be somewhat shared - both ...
bdsl's user avatar
  • 902
11 votes
1 answer
795 views

Does the exclusionary rule attach to the illegality of the search or to the person whose rights were violated?

Police blatantly illegally searches Bob's house and finds very strong evidence that Bob and Rob independently committed a horrific crime each. A variation: the crime is the same and Bob and Rob ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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9 votes
7 answers
5k views

If the Jury considers evidence that should be discarded in the US, what would the result be?

This comes from the movie A Guilty Conscience, which may be one of the best movies of the past 20 years in Hong Kong and its box office is the highest ever. Movie Spoiler Warning What if the defendant'...
Stefanie Gauss's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
2k views

Legal/jurisprudential term to refer to any evidence that can be interpreted either way

Some time back, I had read a specific phrase used to refer to situations where some "evidence" can be interpreted either way. For example: Person A dies in a hospital and a syringe is found ...
info_seekeR's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is propensity evidence ever allowed as circumstantial evidence?

I, being a non-expert in any country's/state's law, was somewhat surprised when it was said that propensity evidence isn't, in Wisconsin, legal evidence; see between 5.57 - 8.15 in this video about ...
user110391's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
6k views

Can messenger chat be used as evidence in courts?

My roommate agreed that I don't need to pay rent for the days I am not in apartment. I have to go to Texas for a 6 month period. I informed my roommate before adding him as roommate. We had this ...
user2225190's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do you prove a fact at issue in litigation?

Many questions on this site ask some variant of the question: "how does one prove something in court?" Paraphrasing a few: How do you prove that someone forged your signature? How do you ...
Jen's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Self-incriminating statements carry weight of proof

If someone is recorded confessing to a crime, can the recording serve as evidence solely because it contains the self-incriminating statement? Putting as an example: Carlos had his wallet stolen. In a ...
Brit's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
12k views

Can law enforcement dig up endangered plants to recover evidence of a crime?

According to this meme if you bury a body underneath an endangered plant, it is then illegal for law enforcement to dig up the body. Is this true?
moonman239's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
978 views

Can defendants switcheroo whenever they want?

Here is a 1994 article describing an Illinois criminal trial where defense counsel pulled the old switcheroo and sat a different person with him at the defense table instead of the defendant. The ...
Alexanne Senger's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why didn't the Crown inform the witness about the defense's evidence beforehand?

In 2016 ONCJ 155, the judge says with regards to a witness: [72] In an effort to explain to the Court her continued socializing with Mr. Ghomeshi following the alleged choking incident and over the ...
Petr Hudeček's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Introducing evidence into trial in the US

How does one introduce evidence into trial? Do all pieces of evidence have to be introduced into trial before trial starts? Can I bring additional evidence on the day of the trial and introduce it on ...
HelloDarkWorld's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
192 views

Can you de-identify a lawfully recorded audio-only call to lodge with the court and offer into evidence?

Bob, while providing lawful notice of call recording by beep-tone warning notification, records calls with a company that does not record calls where it ordinarily conveys information that exposes it ...
HJay's user avatar
  • 467
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can a lawyer compel a witness to read something aloud in court?

Often on shows like Law and Order, a lawyer might ask someone on the stand to read something aloud. An example might be an academic putting forward one opinion, being asked to read an excerpt from a ...
Jake Rankin's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
109 views

Can a municipality ignore the rules of evidence for charges relating to violation of a municipal ordinance?

My Township has an ordinance relating to grass needing to be cut on a regular basis. The penalties for violating include fines up to $1,000 and jailtime. Presumably the latter is not used on the ...
Pyrotechnical's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Obtaining information that requires a court order but before to going to the court?

I'm struggling with the following dilemma. Some information is not accessible without a court order, for example, some data stored in Apple / Google / Facebook servers. Going to the court directly is ...
Silly mistakes in the past's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can Law Enforcement in the US use evidence acquired through an illegal act by someone else?

There are reports on the internet this morning that a group of people were able to hack Parler and download around 70tb of data from the servers before AWS ceased hosting the platform. There are ...
GeoffAtkins's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
111 views

Can CCTV cameras share an IT network in the UK?

I've just had a conversation with a company who are a "Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board accredited intruder alarm system installer", who told me that their CCTV cameras and ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 153
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Notice of uncontroverted facts in criminal trials

Section 128 of the New Zealand Evidence Act 2006: (1) A Judge or jury may take notice of facts so known and accepted either generally or in the locality in which the proceeding is being held that ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why what you say to the police can be used against you, but not in your favour?

I'm asking this question from the viewpoint of an almost complete newbie in court law. I've heard stated by plenty of lawyers that you should never talk to the police, and the only thing you should ...
Luiz Martins's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
854 views

Can a rape victim's DNA be used against them in criminal proceedings?

This question arose after a recent revelation from the San Francisco DA, who said that DNA of rape victims that were gathered when performing a rape kit test1 was used to identify a criminal suspect ...
BakedAlaska624's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
448 views

Why did US law go with inadmissibility, and not reactionary punitive action, to prevent illegal evidence collection?

As I've understood it, the exclusionary rule is a prophylactic rule aimed to prevent the cultivation of illegal evidence collection by removing the utility of illegally-collected evidence through ...
user110391's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
279 views

Does partiality discredit witnesses?

In criminal trials, when a regular (non-expert) witness does not like the defendant (and admits it when asked), does that alone give a valid reason to discredit them to any extent at all? Can the jury ...
Greendrake's user avatar
  • 27.5k
4 votes
1 answer
227 views

Is a statement saying that a party committed a crime by a non-benefiting accessory to the crime considered a party-opponent admission?

I was taking an MBE Prep Test for the hell of it, and I found this question's answer to be controversial. "Several persons together stole a painting from an art museum. One of them, who was the ...
froggo_doggo's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
234 views

Can an audio recording prove a defendant's innocence?

Defendant is in jail for a gun charge. The gun is not his, nor did he know it was in the vehicle. Defendant's girlfriend has an audio recording of the gun's owner admitting to owning the gun but ...
SCASHLI's user avatar
  • 51
4 votes
1 answer
682 views

When can a defendant in a criminal trial introduce evidence?

I was watching a criminal speeding trial in Texas a few weeks ago. The defendant was acting pro se. A police dash-cam video apparently existed of the incident and the defendant was in possession of it....
mark b's user avatar
  • 790
4 votes
1 answer
442 views

US exclusionary rule - are there limits?

Inspired by this question related to admissibility of evidence obtained from an unlawful search and seizure: At an unlawful traffic stop, police searches the car and find the weapon used in a recent ...
Patrick87's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
663 views

Does video evidence need to be attested to by a human?

If video filmed by (say) a smartphone is used as evidence, does the person who filmed it have to submit an affidavit saying "I filmed that at location X at time Y"? Or can the video be used ...
Matthew Cline's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
572 views

Were the district attorney and his legal advisor legally correct in Dirty Harry about the total inadmissability of evidence?

In the first Dirty Harry movie, the titular detective Harry Callahan is in pursuit of a serial killer who already murdered several victims and is holding another victim as a hostage. He figures out ...
vsz's user avatar
  • 957
3 votes
4 answers
2k views

In-court identification of defendants

(Inspired by Can a lawyer subject the court to a (temporary) ruse for a legitimate purpose?) Under which circumstances are witnesses asked to identify people present (in particular defendants) in the ...
KFK's user avatar
  • 604
3 votes
2 answers
134 views

Are there lines of reasoning that can only be introduced into a case via an expert witness?

Say some technical question is important to a court case. One side brings in an expert witness on the subject to testify that the answer is in fact A in their expert opinion. Is the other side allowed ...
interfect's user avatar
  • 3,491
3 votes
1 answer
8k views

When can you no longer submit evidence in a civil case?

I was wondering if there was a point in a civil case where parties are no longer allowed to submit evidence, to my understanding all evidence is submitted at a pretrial, and after that it is ...
sTunned_'s user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
323 views

In a criminal trial, is the prosecution allowed to discuss its plea bargaining with the defendant?

Suppose that someone is charged with a crime. Before they are arraigned, they negotiate with the prosecution about a potential plea bargain, but do not reach one and instead go to trial. During the ...
Very Tiny Brain's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
242 views

How can I prove that I owned an object before a certain date?

I received a widget on January 1. A law is passed criminalizing ownership of widgets. It is an affirmative defense that the widget owner had it before January 10th. How can I prove that I owned the ...
user47671's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
766 views

Is evidence obtained under false pretences admissable in a criminal trial?

Is evidence obtained under false pretences admissable in a criminal trial? For example, imagine a policeman impersonates a computer technician to gain admittance to the suspect's home in order to "...
Cicero's user avatar
  • 6,920
3 votes
1 answer
102 views

Does Evidence Have to be Legal in Both the State Where it is Created and Where It is Adjudicated?

Suppose Suzie in Alabama calls Bonnie in Arizona, and records the call without telling Bonnie. Alabama and Arizona are both one-party consent states, so this recording is legal. Suppose that for some ...
Anon's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
275 views

Is an officer's testimony in a military court considered coerced and thus inadmissible in criminal court proceedings?

I was watching a Law and Order SVU episode which involves two court proceedings. The first is an article 32 hearing which is introduced in the episode as the military equivalent of grand jury. ...
JJJ's user avatar
  • 274
3 votes
1 answer
457 views

What 2012-2015 SCOTUS decisions make "letter[s] from the grave" inadmissible into evidence?

I've read this interesting bit: In a 2008 trial where a man was accused of poisoning his wife with antifreeze, Schroeder allowed into evidence a letter the wife wrote a neighbor accusing the husband ...
against very long user names's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
3k views

Meaning of "Strike from the Record" in legal code? Is there *any* memory/record once "stricken"? By who/what handled/processed? Proof of striking?

"Strike the record" ("strike from the record", "strike that from the record") is a frequently spoken phrase in legal procedural docudramas. Are there violent connotations ...
prosody-Gabe Vereable Context's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
443 views

"Reasonable doubt" and conditional probabilities

Let A be the event that the accused is guilty and B is the event that evidence / testimonies are presented against the accused. In the U.S., does "reasonble doubt" refers to a juror's subjective ...
yurnero's user avatar
  • 139
2 votes
2 answers
960 views

Explanatory vs Exploratory evidence in legal proceedings

In academia, there is an important distinction between exploratory analyses of data and confirmatory analyses. Careers have been ruined by researchers passing off the one as the other. Since the ...
Him's user avatar
  • 323
2 votes
1 answer
455 views

Consequences of introducing inadmissible evidence to the judge and jury

Evidence may be inadmissible, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be ineffectual in its influence of the jury, and the judge. For example, evidence proving a horrendous crime done by the accused,...
user110391's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
340 views

Is it true that you shouldn't publish evidence that you intend to use in court?

I've heard in a few places that you shouldn't make public pieces of evidence that you plan to use later to support a case against some person/entity. But I'd like to ask if this is actually true and ...
Alex Morales's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
104 views

In what states of the U.S., and under what conditions can a priest be compelled to testify of information a penitent disclosed to them?

If the states where it is privileged, and may not be admissible in court are fewer, which states are they? Does it matter if information disclosed during priest-penitent communications had been known ...
Raiden Snaker's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
203 views

If a cop is mistaken in his belief that X is true, where X would typically be grounds for reasonable suspicion, does he have reasonable suspicion?

If a cop is factually mistaken (but sincerely mistaken, not a liar) in his belief that X is true, and if X would typically constitute grounds for reasonable suspicion (were it to be true, which it isn’...
user10264746's user avatar