Review Questions

Review Questions

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  1. What is real evidence? Distinguish it from documentary evidence and oral testimony. (SS14.1)
  2. List four general rules regarding the admissibility of real evidence. How does the party offering real evidence authenticate the item? (SS14.2)
  3. What is meant by the term chain of custody? Is real evidence admitted if there is a break in the chain of custody? Explain. (SS14.2)
  4. What factors are considered in determining whether real evidence is connected with a crime? Give some examples. (SS14.2)
  5. What are the factors that the judge considers in determining whether the exhibition of the person of the victim is to be allowed? (SS14.3)
  6. May a weapon such as a gun, allegedly used in the commission of a crime, be introduced in evidence? Are there any conditions on its admission? If so, what are they? Must the party offering the weapon establish an absolute chain of custody? (SS14.4)
  7. What is the general rule concerning the admissibility of clothing, such as that worn by the accused at the time of the crime? Give other examples of evidence that is admissible as an article or instrument connected with a crime. What are the requirements for admitting narcotics, narcotics paraphernalia, and records? (SS14.4)
  8. Does a judge have the authority in a criminal case to permit the jurors to view the premises where the crime was alleged to have been committed? What is the procedure for viewing the premises, if it is authorized? Is it error for a judge to refuse to allow the jury to be present at the scene of the crime? (SS14.5)
  9. What are the requirements for the admissibility of photographs? Are photographs admissible if the officer who takes the photographs violates the Constitution when taking the photographs? Explain. (SS14.6)
  10. What is the rationale for not allowing the admission of gruesome photographs? What factors are considered when determining admissibility? (SS14.6)
  11. What evidence is required in laying the foundation for the admissibility of motion pictures at trial? Give some examples of the use of motion pictures in criminal cases. What are the requirements for the admissibility of videotapes? Explain. Does the fact that parts of the tape are inaudible require exclusion? (SS14.7)
  12. Are sound recordings admissible in evidence? If so, what are the requirements? What are the dangers of using sound recordings in evidence? (SS14.9)
  13. What are the requirements for laying a foundation for the admission of sound recordings? (SS14.9)
  14. May diagrams, maps, models, and blackboard drawings be used to explain testimony during a trial? If so, are there any conditions on their use? (SS14.10)
  15. Does the law require the prosecution to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defendant? If the prosecution is required to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defendant, what are the consequences for failing to do so? (SS14.12)
  16. In Schmerber v. California, blood to be used in a blood-alcohol test was taken from a driver who had been arrested for driving under the influence. Under what provisions of the Constitution was the taking of the blood challenged? What was the decision of the court concerning the use of blood for this purpose? (Schmerber v. California, Part II)
  17. In the case of Illinois v. Cowans, the defendant was found guilty of one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. On appeal, the defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence and contended that the stipulated facts, together with the entire trial record, failed to establish a complete chain of custody for the real evidence, the controlled substance. Before real evidence may be admitted at trial, the prosecution must provide an adequate foundation either by way of live testimony or a stipulation that establishes that the item sought to be introduced is the actual item involved in the alleged offense and that its condition is substantially unchanged since it was seized. The state seized some containers near here defendant had been standing and sent them to the state lab for processing. The lab processed some containers containing rock cocaine. Did the officers properly contain the evidence? What must they do to prove the evidence tested came from the defendant? Did they keep a proper chain of custody sufficient to authenticate the evidence as having come from defendant? Why or why not? Would you have upheld his conviction? (Illinois v. Cowans, Part II)
  18. In the case of Underwood v. State, the defendant was indicted for capital murder. The indictment charged that the defendant murdered the victim by shooting her with a pistol during the course of a kidnapping. The jury returned a verdict of guilty and found that the defendant should be sentenced to death. On appeal, the defendant argued that the introduction of the videotape of the crime scene depicting the victim's body outweighed the tape's probative value and the introduction of numerous gruesome photographs outweighed their probative value. What were the comments of the court concerning the general rule relating to the admissibility of gruesome photographs? What factors must the judge consider when deciding on the admissibility of gruesome photographs? Do the same standards apply to determining admissibility of videotapes? Were the videotapes and the photographs properly admitted by the trial court in this case? (Underwood v. State, Part II)