In order to prepare the taskforce for the responsibilities ahead, it is imperative to inform the members of the legal issues utilized by the defendants as aberrations within precedent cases. Through their defense attorneys, suspects and known criminals have been capable of refuting incarceration or formal litigation due to problems such as hearsay, insufficiency of the required evidence, unprivileged communication and issues pertaining to witnesses. Based on the issues that arise within the court system, it is imperative to ensure that the members of the taskforce are informed of such challenges. Understanding this information is important since it will ensure that the members present good and legally justifiable cases regardless of the loopholes within the Rules of Evidence. Conveying such information to them will aid in limiting criminals or accused persons from averting justice by utilizing situations provided in beforehand litigations.
Foremost, the taskforce members will need to be informed about the possible reasons for the impeachment of a witness during a criminal trial. First, if the testimony provided by the witness at trial disagrees with his or her former deposition testimony, then it is possible to receive an impeachment in relation to the witness. Secondly, the possession of a witness’ material can also act as a reason for evoking impeachment. Usually, extrinsic evidence is disallowed in relation to this issue (Herring, 2008). A party cannot accuse a witness by introducing such form of evidence illustrating the witness’ misconduct. In this case, the material that can be used as reason for witness impeachment contradicts the witness’ statement in court. A surprise evidence material from the website of the witness or beforehand inconsistent writing that undermines the credibility of the witness can act as a basic ground for witness impeachment. Depending on the outcome, the ramifications of the accusation can lead to rebuttal of the witness’ testimonies.
The aspect of hearsay is also imperative in this matter. Hearsay, as a form of evidence, constitutes an out-of-court non-verbal or verbal conduct that establishes the conviction of the declarant regarding a detail whose relevancy is dependent on the conviction’s accuracy. Normally, hearsay is introduced in order to prove a certain fact of the matter or issue asserted. However, there is contention with this form of evidence based on the actuality that it relies on the words of a person and therefore, may be subjective and prone to bias. Accordingly, the Federal Rule of Evidence (802), which is against hearsay, establishes the inadmissibility of hearsay unless provided otherwise by rules offered by the Supreme Court or a statute (Rothstein, 2013). However, this law only complicates this form of evidence on both sides. As such, the Best Evidence Rule authenticates the provision of evidence as well the admissibility or inadmissibility of hearsay in court. Since the Rule applies when an individual seeks to admit evidence without support of the original, then it affects hearsay by attaching the element of authentication to it.
Irrespective of the inadmissibility of hearsay as per the Best Evidence Rule, there are certain exceptions to the rule as established by the courts. The Federal Rule of Evidence 804 establishes dying declarations as possible exemptions. The Court established this as admissible since the solemnity encompassing the activity of death, or a conviction that an individual is dying, has a tendency to impel truthfulness. Another exemption to the hearsay rule comprises excited or spontaneous utterances. The Federal Rule of Evidence (803) defines such aspects as “excited” (Legal Information Institute, 2013). Practically, this exemption normally comprises 911 calls and rapid police responses in which the affected person is found to be in considerable pain, fear, hysteria, and/or profuse bleeding. In these incidences, the court can allow the person contacted such as the police officer to bear witness for the affected person.
In definition, privileged communications comprise private statements exchanged between individuals that require to be maintained in confidentiality (Rothstein, 2013). Regarding evidence, the regulations that guide criminal trials are devised to permit the provision of appropriate evidence. In this case, parties generally possess access to each form of information that will assist in providing results for the respective case. However, privileged communications are exemptions to this declaration. However, when using privileged communications as evidence, certain cautionary measures must be observed. First, a privileged communication may not be private in the case where another party aside from the main ones overhears. Secondly, privileged communications are conditional. As an outcome of these two cautions, criminal defendants can be capable of accessing communications between the witness and his or her involved party especially if he or she possesses an interest within the disclosure.
Lastly, a comparison of the differences between criminal and civil proceedings in relation to the burdens of proof is imperative. Indeed, a burden of proof refers to an obligation imposed on a party to confirm or disprove a disputed truth (Rothstein, 2013). However, the party onto which the burden is positioned differentiates when it comes to criminal and civil litigations. In criminal proceedings, the burden is imposed upon the prosecution. This particular party must verify that the accused is guilty in front of a jury that possesses the power to implement a conviction. On the other hand, civil cases normally impose the burden of proof on the plaintiff. Indeed, the plaintiff is charged with this obligation. Conclusively, the plaintiff must provide admissible evidence that will ensure that his or her claims are verifiable and thus, illustrate the guilt and wrongdoing of the defendant.
Herring, J. (2008). Criminal law: Text, cases, and materials. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Legal Information Institute. (2013). Rule 803: Exceptions to the rule against hearsay. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_803
Rothstein, P. F. (2013). Federal rules of evidence. Eagan, MN: Thomson Reuters.
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