EvidenceProf Blog

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Court of Appeals of Minnesota Finds Courts Can and Often Must Infer Causation Under "Forfeiture by Wrongdoing" Hearsay Exception

Like its federal counterpart, Minnesota Rule of Evidence 804(b)(6) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for 

A statement offered against a party who wrongfully caused or acquiesced in wrongfully causing the declarant's unavailability as a witness and did so intending that result.

In effect, this is a witness tampering rule, and the Minnesota courts have held that the proponent of evidence under this hearsay exception must prove four elements

 (1) that the declarant-witness is unavailable; (2) that the defendant engaged in wrongful conduct; (3) that the wrongful conduct procured the unavailability of the witness; and (4) that the defendant intended to procure the unavailability of the witness.

So, what happens when the proponent of evidence under this "forfeiture by wrongdoing" exception has direct evidence to establish (1), (2), and (4), but not (3)? That was the question addressed by the Court of Appeals of Minnesota in its recent opinion in State v. Shaka, 2019 WL 1890550 (Minn.App. 2019).

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April 30, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Court of Appeals of Maryland Denies the Defense's Motion for Reconsideration in the Adnan Syed Case

Today, the Court of Appeals of Maryland denied the defense's  Motion for Reconsideration in the Adnan Syed case today:

Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 3.12.16 PM

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April 19, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (18)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Breaking Down the Innocence Network/MacArthur Justice Center Amici Curiae Brief in the Adnan Syed Case

In Tuesday's post, I noted that three amici curiae ("friends of the court") briefs were filed in support of the Motion for Reconsideration in the Adnan Syed case. In this post, I will summarize the argument made in the amici curiae brief submitted by The Innocence Network and the MacArthur Justice Center.

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April 11, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Breaking Down the NACDL Amici Curiae Brief in the Adnan Syed Case

In yesterday's post, I noted that three amici curiae ("friends of the court") briefs were filed in support of the Motion for Reconsideration in the Adnan Syed case. In this post, I will summarize the argument made in the amici curiae brief submitted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

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April 10, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Breaking Down the Maryland Amici Curiae Brief in the Adnan Syed Case

In yesterday's post, I focused upon the fourth argument advanced in the  Motion for Reconsideration to the Court of Appeals of Maryland in the Adnan Syed case. Today, there was some interesting news that has bearing upon the first argument made in that Motion: Three amici curiae ("friends of the court") briefs were filed in support of the Motion. In the next three posts, I will summarize the arguments made in these briefs.

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April 9, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, April 8, 2019

My First Post on the Motion for Reconsideration in the Adnan Syed Case

Today, the defense filed its Motion for Reconsideration to the Court of Appeals of Maryland in the Adnan Syed case. In this first post on the Motion, I will (1) explain how the Motion will be handled; and (2) describe (what I find to be) the Motion's most compelling argument.

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April 8, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (12)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Episode Four of "The Case Against Adnan Syed": Did the Idea of Best Buy Come From the Police?

In Sunday's fourth (and final) episode of HBO's "The Case Against Adnan Syed," it was noted that the HBO team was able to talk with Jay Wilds in January 2019. Among other things, he told them the following:

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 6.43.27 PM

So, is this statement credible, and, if so, what does it mean?

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April 2, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Episode Four of "The Case Against Adnan Syed": Jay's 3:00 Visit to Woodlawn High School

In last night's fourth (and final) episode of HBO's "The Case Against Adnan Syed," there was quite possibly a major revelation. The HBO team was able to talk with Jay Wilds in January 2019, and, among other things, he told them the following:

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 3.14.00 PM

This chyron is correct in a sense: Jay did not mention this event in his February 28th police interview, his March 15th police interview, his March 18th ride along, his testimony at trial #1, his testimony at trial #2, or his interview with the Intercept. That said, what Jay told the HBO team is the very first thing he told police. It's also apparently something that Adnan told to the defense team. And, if true, it has major ramifications for Adnan's case.

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April 1, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (16)