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Encyclopedia > Federal Rules of Evidence

The Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) are the rules that govern the admissibility of evidence in the United States federal court system. While the Federal Rules of Evidence apply only in federal courts, a large majority of states have adopted similar (and sometimes identical) rules for use in their respective courts. The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (eg. ... The United States federal courts are the system of courts organized under the Constitution and laws of the federal government of the United States. ... A court is an official, public forum which a public power establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. ... A U.S. state is any one of the fifty states (four of which officially favor the term commonwealth) which, together with the District of Columbia and Palmyra Atoll (an uninhabited incorporated unorganized territory), form the United States of America. ...

Contents


History

Prior to the adoption of the Federal Rules of Evidence in 1975, the federal system relied primarily on case law, or non-codified common law, for rules of evidence. While some states had codified rules of evidence prior to 1975, a majority also used common law rules. The FRE were inspired in part by 1) the drafting of the Uniform Rules of Evidence in the 1950s, 2) the success of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure since their 1938 adoption, and 3) the 1965 version of the California Evidence Code. 1975 was a common year starting on ghjgh Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ... The U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1789 by a constitutional convention, sets down the basic framework of American government in its seven articles. ... Case law (precedential law) is the body of judge-made law and legal decisions that interprets prior case law, statutes and other legal authority -- including doctrinal writings by legal scholars such as the Corpus Juris Secundum, Halsburys Laws of England or the doctinal writings found in the Recueil Dalloz... In law, codification is the process of collecting and restating the law of a jurisdiction in certain areas, usually by subject. ... Non-statutory law is the basis of the common law system. ... A U.S. state is any one of the fifty states (four of which officially favor the term commonwealth) which, together with the District of Columbia and Palmyra Atoll (an uninhabited incorporated unorganized territory), form the United States of America. ... // Events and trends The 1950s in Western society was marked with a sharp rise in the economy for the first time in almost 30 years and return to the 1920s-type consumer society built on credit and boom-times, as well as the height of the baby-boom from returning... The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. ... 1938 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... // Events January-February January 4 - United States President Lyndon Johnson proclaims his Great Society during his State of the Union address. ...


In 1965, Chief Justice Earl Warren appointed an advisory committee of fifteen to draft the new rules. The committee was chaired by trial lawyer Albert E. Jenner from Chicago. Other trial lawyers included David Berger of Philadelphia, Hicks Epton of Wewoka, Oklahoma, Egbert Haywood of Durham, North Carolina, Frank Raichle of Buffalo, New York, Herman Selvin of Los Angeles, Craig Spangenberg of Cleveland, and Edward Bennett Williams of Washington, D.C. Members from legal academia included Thomas F. Green, Jr. of the University of Georgia Law School, Charles W. Joiner of the University of Michigan Law School, Jack Weinstein of Columbia University School of Law, and Edward W. Cleary of the University of Illinois College of Law. Representing the judiciary were U.S. Circuit Judge Simon E. Sobeloff of Maryland, U.S. District Judge Joe E. Estes of Texas, and U.S. District Judge Robert Van Pelt of Nebraska. // Events January-February January 4 - United States President Lyndon Johnson proclaims his Great Society during his State of the Union address. ... Earl Warren Earl Warren (March 19, 1891 – July 9, 1974) was a California district attorney, the 30th Governor of California, and the 14th Chief Justice of the United States from 1953–1969. ... Chicago, colloquially known as the Second City and the Windy City, is the third-largest city in population in the United States and the largest inland city in the country. ... Independence Hall Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as Philly or the City of Brotherly Love) is the fifth most populous city in the United States and the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, both in area and population. ... Wewoka is a city located in Seminole County, Oklahoma. ... Nickname: City of Medicine Location in North Carolina Founded  -Incorporated April 10, 1869 {{{incorporated}}}  County Durham County, North Carolina Mayor Bill Bell Area  - Total  - Water 245. ... Aerial view of downtown Buffalo, New York Buffalo, also known as The Queen City, The Nickel City, and the City of Good Neighbors, is an American city in western New York. ... ‹The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... City nickname: The Forest City Location Location in Cuyahoga County, Ohio Government County Cuyahoga Mayor Jane Campbell Physical characteristics Area      Land      Water 213. ... Edward Bennett Williams (May 31, 1920 -- August 13, 1988) was a Washington, DC trial attorney who owned several professional sports teams. ... Washington, D.C., short for the District of Columbia (locals know the city as the District, DC,—or, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United States of America. ... An aerial view of the Law Quadrangle at the University of Michigan. ... State nickname: Old Line State; Free State Other U.S. States Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R) Official languages English Area 32,160 km² (42nd)  - Land 25,338 km²  - Water 6,968 km² (21%) Population (2000)  - Population 5,296,486 (19th)  - Density 165 /km² (5th) Admission... Prior to 1821, Texas was part of the Spanish colony of New Spain. ... State nickname: Cornhusker State Other U.S. States Capital Lincoln Largest city Omaha Governor Dave Heineman (R) Official languages English Area 200,520 km² (16th)  - Land 199,099 km²  - Water 1,247 km² (0. ...


The United States Supreme Court promulgated drafts of the FRE in 1969, 1971 and 1972, but Congress then exercised its right under the Rules Enabling Act to suspend implementation of the FRE until it could study them further. After a long delay blamed on the Watergate scandal, Congress allowed the FRE to become federal law in 1975. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... 1969 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... 1971 is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... 1972 was a leap year that started on a Saturday. ... The Congress of the United States is the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States of America. ... The Rules Enabling Act is a 1934 Congressional act that gave the judicial branch the power to promulgate the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ... The Watergate Complex as depicted in Government Exhibit 1. ... Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a nation. ...


Purpose

Rule 102 of the FRE, titled "Purpose and Construction", states, "[t]hese rules shall be construed to secure fairness in administration, elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay, and promotion of growth and development of the law of evidence to the end that the truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined." Thus, according to rule 102, the purposes of the FRE can be summed up in four words: fairness, efficiency, clarity, justice.


However, the FRE were adopted for reasons other than those explicitly presented in rule 102. First, the common law evidence rules were not uniform - evidence laws would often vary from one circuit court to another and from one state court to another. A single, comprehensive set of rules was necessary to eliminate this rather complicated variance. Second, many legal scholars, lawyers, and judges considered the traditional common law rules harsh in some instances and nonsensical in others. Thus, the FRE liberalized the common law rules in many respects to eliminate these adverse effects. The United States Courts of Appeals (or circuit courts) are the mid-level appellate courts of the United States federal court system. ... For information on the type of fish called Lawyer, see the article on Burbot. ... A judge or justice is an appointed or elected official who presides over a court. ...


Structure

The FRE are divided into eleven articles, with each article containing one or more rules. The articles are:

I. General Provisions
II. Judicial Notice
III. Presumptions in Civil Actions and Proceedings
IV. Relevancy and its Limits
V. Privileges
VI. Witnesses
VII. Opinions and Expert Testimony
VIII. Hearsay
IX. Authentication and Identification
X. Contents of Writings, Recordings, and Photographs
XI. Miscellaneous Rules

There are sixty-seven total rules. Some of the most notable rules include:

  • Rule 401 defines "relevant evidence" - "evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence."
  • Rule 403 excludes relevant evidence that would cause prejudice, confusion, or waste of time if admitted - "[a]lthough relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence."
  • Rule 802 excludes hearsay evidence from consideration at trial (though subsequent rules create numerous exceptions to this general rule) - "Hearsay is not admissible except as provided by these rules or by other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority or by Act of Congress."

Relevance, in the common law of evidence, is the tendency of a given item of evidence to prove or disprove one of the legal elements of the case, or to have probative value to make one of the elements of the case likelier or not. ... Prejudice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Hearsay in its most general and oldest meaning is a term used in the law of evidence to describe an out of court statement offered to establish the facts asserted in that statement. ...

References

  • Text of the Federal Rules of Evidence

  Results from FactBites:
 
Federal Rules of Evidence (LII 2006 ed.) (6962 words)
Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eyewitnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.
Evidence of the pendency of an appeal is admissible.
Evidence of the beliefs or opinions of a witness on matters of religion is not admissible for the purpose of showing that by reason of their nature the witness' credibility is impaired or enhanced.
Federal Rules of Evidence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (434 words)
While the Federal Rules of Evidence apply only in federal courts, a large majority of states have adopted similar (and sometimes identical) rules for use in their respective courts.
The FRE were inspired in part by 1) the drafting of the Uniform Rules of Evidence in the 1950s, 2) the success of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure since their 1938 adoption, and 3) the 1965 version of the California Evidence Code.
First, the common law evidence rules were not uniform - evidence laws would often vary from one circuit to another, not to mention the variance among state courts.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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