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Review Questions


  1. What procedure is followed in court in challenging evidence that is irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent? (SS7.1)
  2. Distinguish between materiality and relevancy and give some examples of each. (SS7.2)
  3. Explain how the concepts of logical relevancy and legal relevancy relate to the traditional concepts of relevancy and materiality. (SS7.2)
  4. What is the general rule concerning the admissibility of relevant evidence? Who makes the decision as to relevancy? (SS7.3)
  5. While relevant evidence is presumptively admissible, many legal theories will result in the exclusion of relevant evidence for a variety of reasons, some logical and some based on public policy. What are some of the instances in which Federal Rule 403 may exclude relevant evidence from admission in court? (SS7.4)
  6. What is the general rule concerning the relevancy and materiality of evidence tending to establish the identity of persons involved in crimes? May "other crimes" evidence be used for identification purposes? (SS7.6)
  7. Under the Neil v. Biggers test for witness identification, what are the constitutional requirements that must be met in order to allow the admissibility of evidence of a victim's or witness's pretrial identification of the defendant from photographs or a lineup? (SS7.6)
  8. Will courts generally admit physical objects, forensic evidence, and other tangible evidence against a defendant? Is there a general rule concerning the admissibility of evidence of objects and scientific evidence connected to the crime? (SS7.7)
  9. Is evidence of conduct of the accused shortly before the offense, which is either consistent with innocence or consistent with a defendant's guilt considered relevant and admissible? If so, what are the limitations concerning the admissibility of such evidence? (SS7.8)
  10. Under what circumstances is evidence of conduct following the criminal act relevant? How relevant would the use of a false name, refusal to allow police to enter, or giving a false address be relevant in a criminal prosecution? (SS7.9)
  11. Why might evidence of fleeing the scene or flight after the crime be indicative of guilt? Why is flight following a crime not always relevant evidence of a consciousness of guilt? (SS7.9)
  12. Under what circumstances is evidence of insanity relevant and admissible? Voluntary intoxication? (SS7.10)
  13. Generally, evidence of a person's character or a trait of his character is not admissible for the purpose of proving that the defendant acted in the predicted manner on the occasion in question. Under Federal Rule 404(a), there are several exceptions mentioned. Define these exceptions to the general rule and explain the circumstances under which these exceptions apply. (SS7.11)
  14. Concerning the relevancy of allowing a prosecutor to introduce evidence of a defendant's prior criminal activities, The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit suggested following a two-step approach in determining the admissibility of evidence of other crimes. What is this two-step test? Enumerate at least four purposes for which evidence of other crimes is admissible. Discuss the rationale for admitting such evidence. (SS7.12)
  15. What factors did the Daubert v. Merrell Dow case suggest as appropriate for testing relevance in the admission of scientific evidence in federal court? Give an example of the use of experimental and scientific evidence as meeting the relevancy test. (SS7.13)
  16. The defendant in the case of Massachusetts v. Prashaw contended that the introduction of naked photographs of her in sexually provocative poses, during a case involving firearms violations, created unfair prejudice to her defense and that the photographs were not relevant in any sense to the theory of guilt proffered by the prosecution. Did the appellate court agree with the defendant or did it believe that the provocative photographs were relevant to the proof of the prosecution's case? Should the court have decided this case in the manner in which it did? Why or why not? (Massachusetts v. Prashaw, Part II)
  17. In the case of State v. Davis, a jury found the defendant guilty of first degree murder. At the trial, evidence was introduced that, prior to the death of the victim, the defendant expressed a desire to kill three young women and have sexual relations with them while they were dying. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the introduction under Rule 404(b) of this evidence of conduct preceding the crimes should not have been admitted. What was the decision of the court concerning the admissibility of evidence of separate crimes? The admissibility of uncharged misconduct? Were the statements properly admitted? Why? Were the photographs of the autopsy of the victim properly admitted? Would the prejudicial value outweigh the probative effect? Why or why not? (State v. Davis, Part II)
  18. The defendant in the case of State v. Lancaster claimed that he was entitled to a new trial because the state introduced inadmissible evidence of the commission of uncharged crimes. The state had offered the testimony of two other women who recounted numerous incidents of sexual abuse at the hands of the defendant. What was the decision of the court concerning the introduction of evidence of other similar crimes? The court noted five instances in which evidence of uncharged misconduct may be admitted as a general rule. What are they? (State v. Lancaster, Part II)