EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hierarchy of Needs: Texas Case Reveals Explicit Texas Rule of Evidence on Evidentiary Hierarchy

I always teach my students that the Constitution trumps the Federal Rules of Evidence. There is, however, no specific Rule in the Federal Rules of Evidence that sets forth this hierarchy. As the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of Texas, Texarkana, in Clay v. State, 2012 WL 6721012 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 2012), makes clear, however, there is such a Rule in the Texas Rules of Evidence. And the opinion also makes clear that there is another important difference between the two sets of Rules.

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January 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Failure of Confrontation: Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama Reverses Burglary Adjudication Based on Bruton Violation

Pursuant to the Bruton doctrine, the Confrontation Clause is violated by the admission at a joint jury trial of a nontestifying co-defendant's confession that facially incriminates another defendant. A textbook application of the doctrine can be found in the recent opinion of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama in C.L.H. v. State, 2012 WL 6554144 (Ala.Crim.App. 2012).

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January 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gas Stop: Court of Appeals of Minnesota Finds Trial Court Erred in Allowing for Admission of Gas Station Transaction Journal

Similar to its federal counterpartMinnesota Rule of Evidence 803(6) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for 

A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, in any form, of acts, events, conditions, opinions, or diagnoses, made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity, and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make the memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, all as shown by the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness, unless the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of trustworthiness. The term "business" as used in this paragraph includes business, institution, association, profession, occupation, and calling of every kind, whether or not conducted for profit. A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation prepared for litigation is not admissible under this exception.

As the language of Rule 803(6) makes clear, for a business record to be admissible under the rule, there must be foundation testimony from either the custodian of the record or another qualified witness. The problem for the State in State v. Johnson, 2012 WL 6734450 (Minn.App. 2012), was that it had neither.

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January 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)