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YOUR NAME:

LESSON:
SOURCE:

Sarah McEahern
Mock Trial Rules of Evidence and Objections
Evidence Examples and Explanations by Arthur Best
(chapters 1, 3, 4, & 5) and Street Law Mock Trial
Manual by Patricia McGuire (pg. 18-19, 25)
TIME AND DAY TAUGHT: 50 minutes, May 8, 2014
MATERIALS:
PowerPoint presentation, Pop Quiz handout
I.

GOALS: Studying the rules of evidence and objections helps students:


A.
Understand how attorneys use evidence in court.
B.
Adhere to the rules during their mock trial.

II.

OBJECTIVES: As a result of this class, students will be better able to:


A.

Knowledge Objectives
1. Define hearsay, speculation, and impeachment.
2. State at least one purpose for the rules of evidence.

B.

Behavioral/Skills Objectives
1. Recognize leading questions, narration, irrelevant testimony,
hearsay, and opinions.
2. Make proper objections to violations of the rules of evidence.
3. Introduce physical evidence using proper procedure.
4. Impeach a witness using proper procedure.

C.

Attitude Objectives
1. Feel comfortable and confident making objections.
2. Appreciate the importance of following the rules of evidence.

III. CLASSROOM METHODS


A. Lecture on Objections using PowerPoint (15 minutes)
1. Explain to students that we will be learning about the rules of
evidence and some procedures used in trial to enforce the rules
of evidence, including objections.
2. Ask students why it is important to have the rules of evidence?
(fairness to the parties, prevent wasting time or resources of the
court/attorneys with irrelevant evidence, keep out evidence that
is unreliable or unfairly prejudicial)

3. Leading questions: emphasize to students that these questions


cannot be used during direct examination, but are acceptable,
and even encouraged during cross-examination.
i. Leading questions usually have yes or no answers.
4. Argumentative questions should be avoided. Students should
not argue with their witnesses, even if the witness provides an
answer that is unfavorable or wrong.
i. They can ask similar questions getting at a single,
important idea, but asking the exact same question over
and over is not effective.
ii. Tell the students they will be learning how to impeach
witnesses later in class for situations in which the witness
lies.
5. Speculation arises when an attorneys asks the witness to
speculate, or make a guess about something. Calculated
estimations within a witnesss expertise, if established as an
expert witness do not count as speculation.
6. Narration is objectionable when a witness gives a long-winded
answer that goes far beyond the scope of the question. In
general, witnesses should only answer the question asked.
i. Attorneys may also object to questions that call for
narration, such as Describe the night of May 31st
7. Relevance prevents attorneys and witnesses from introducing
frivolous or prejudicial information that is unrelated to the issue
at hand. Only evidence that contributes to the understanding of
the case can be discussed.
8. Hearsay is a complicated rule, but in general, it prohibits the use
of out-of-court statements to prove facts. So, a witness cannot
testify about facts relayed to them by someone else.
i. In this example, the bartenders statement cannot be
used to prove that the driver had been drinking all night.
ii. This is because the bartender is not the witness on stand,
and therefore the bartenders credibility cannot be
questioned through cross-examination.
9. There are several hearsay exceptions, and we will be focusing on
two of them for our trial.
i. The first allows statements that are made about the event
as it was occurring that demonstrate what the speaker
was thinking, feeling, or intending in that moment. These

statements are used to prove the speakers state of mind


during the event, rather than facts of the event.
1. In this example, the statement suggests that the
driver was apologetic and was unaware of the light
turning red.
ii. The second exception allows statements that are made
by one of the parties in the case because the party, such
as the defendant, is in court and can deny or affirm that
statement during his or her own testimony.
10. First-Hand knowledge, much like hearsay, prevents witnesses
from relaying secondhand information. The witness cannot
testify to something unless the witness directly saw, heard, or
experienced it personally.
11. Opinions are typically reserved for expert witnesses, especially
when the opinion is about a scientific, technical, or specialized
subject. However, lay witnesses can give opinions that are
rationally based on observations within the common experience.
i. No witness can express an opinion on the ultimate issue
of the case.
12. Re-direct of a witness, which occurs after cross-examination, is
limited to the scope of cross-examination. So, an attorney
cannot bring up new topics during the re-direct.
i. In a real trial, the cross-examination is also limited by the
scope of the direct examination. If the opposing counsel
wants to bring up other topics, they would have to call
that witness to the stand themselves.
13. Beyond the scope of the packet. This objection is specific to
mock trial because the witnesses only have the information that
is in the packets. Witnesses can invent answers to questions
that go beyond the scope of the packet or add minor character
details to get into the role, but any facts that materially or
significantly change the case cannot be added.
i. The attorney can make this objection, but a witness can
also assert this if he or she doesnt want to answer a
question for which the packet doesnt provide an answer.
B. Pop Quiz (10 minutes)
1. Hand out Rules of Evidence Review to each student and instruct
them to work through each problem on their own. They should
decide whether the attorney or witness is violating the rules of

evidence, and if so, write down which objection they would


make.
2. After everyone has completed the review, go through the
answers as a class asking students to explain their choices.
C. Practicing Cross-Examination with Objections-return to slides (10
minutes)
1. Explain to students that they can make objections when the
opposing attorney is questioning a witness or admitting
evidence. They can also object when a witness is giving an
answer.
2. Instruct the students on how to make an objection in court.
i. They should stand up, address the judge by saying Your
Honor, stating which violation the attorney or witness is
making and defending the reasoning.
ii. The judge may give the questioning attorney a chance to
defend their question, evidence, or witness before
making a decision to sustain or overrule the objection.
iii. Sustaining the objection means that the judge agrees
that a violation has been made. Overruling the objection
means that the judge will allow the question, evidence or
witness answer.
3. Ask a student attorney and witness pair to volunteer to
demonstrate their direct examination questions for the case you
are preparing in front of the class.
4. Instruct all other students to make objections when appropriate.
i. Remind students to stand up, address the judge, make
their objection and state their reasoning.
ii. Encourage student attorney to rephrase questions when
they are objectionable.
iii. Ask the class for suggestions to improve objectionable
questions.
D. Physical Evidence and Impeachment Procedures-return to slides (15
minutes)
1. Explain that physical evidence may include written documents,
diagrams, or other items involved in the issue. As the students
what physical evidence they can use in their trial (coroners
diagram, map of the scene, etc.)
i. First, an attorney must hand the evidence to the bailiff to
be marked as an exhibit.

1. "Your Honor, I ask that this record be marked for


identification as Prosecution Exhibit #1."
ii. Next, the attorney shows it to the opposing counsel, who
can object to the evidence.
iii. Then, the attorney builds a foundation for the evidence
by handing it to the witness, asking the witness if they
recognize it, and to explain what it is.
1. "Dr. Kowalski , do you recognize this report that is
marked as Prosecution Exhibit #1 for
identification?"
iv. After the witness describes the evidence to the jury, the
attorney can ask other questions about the evidence.
v. Remind students that the jury and judge will not be able
to consider the physical evidence in their deliberations
unless it has been admitted into evidence.
1. "Your Honor, I offer this diagram for admission
into evidence as Prosecution Exhibit #1 and ask
that the Court admit it."
vi. The opposing counsel may object to the admission, and
the judge will decide whether to admit or refuse to admit
the evidence.
2. Group Activity: Divide class into groups of 4 to practice the
procedures.
i. Instruct students to take turns within their group
introducing a piece of physical evidence from the trial
following the instructions on the slide. One student will
be the attorney and the others will be opposing counsel,
the witness, and the judge.
ii. Next, have students practice impeaching a witness using
their mock trial witness statements.
E. Debrief: remind students of the importance of following the rules of
evidence to ensure a fair trial. They should keep the rules of evidence
in mind throughout preparation for the trial and make sure that the
questions they ask do not call for objections. Well-prepared attorneys
anticipate objections and can defend the choices they make in
questions.
IV. EVALUATION
A. Student participation in discussion and group activity.
B. Written and verbal answers to Pop Quiz.

C. Demonstration of skills in small groups.


V. ASSIGNMENT
A. Tell students to review the direct and cross-examination questions
they have prepared for trial and make changes to avoid
objectionable questions and answers.

NAME:
Rules of Evidence Review
Decide whether the question or statement violated a rule of evidence. If so,
which one?
1. Jason told me he stole his teachers car, and Jason is on trial for auto theft. I
testify to what he told me.

Y/N Objection_____________________________

2. During direct examination, the attorney asks the witness, You were at school
on May 2nd, isnt that true?

Y/N Objection_____________________________

3. Marco is suing a police officer for alleged police brutality. During trial, he asks
the police officer if he is married. Y/N Objection_____________________________

4. Dr. Mac is a qualified orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Mac testifies that in her expert
opinion, the patient suffered a fracture in his leg. Y/N Objection_______________

5. Joe, the patients teacher, testifies: In my opinion, the patient suffered from a
fracture in his leg.

Y/N Objection_____________________________

6. Meghan has never been in the car with Evelyn or seen her driving. Meghan
testifies that Evelyn is a careless driver. Y/N
Objection_____________________________

7. Calvin testifies that his friend told him the car behind them was going fast and
the driver wasnt paying attention when he crashed. Y/N Objection______________

Rules of Evidence Review TEACHERS GUIDE


Does the question or statement violate a rule of evidence? If so, which one?
1. Jason told me he stole his teachers car, and Jason is on trial for auto theft. I testify to
what he told me.

No. This falls under the hearsay exception because it is a

statement made by a party (Jason), and he can testify himself to affirm or deny his
statement.
2. During direct examination, the attorney asks the witness, You were at school on May
2nd, isnt that true? Yes. This is a leading question because the attorney is leading the
witness to answer that the witness was at school on May 2nd. This could be rephrased,
Where were you on May 2nd?
3. Marco is suing a police officer for alleged police brutality. During trial, he asks the
police officer if he is married. Yes. This is objectionable on the basis of relevance. The
police officers marital status does not have anything to do with his police conduct.
4. Dr. Mac is a qualified orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Mac testifies that in her expert opinion,
the patient suffered a fracture in his leg. No. Dr. Mac is an expert, so her opinion on
medical topics is valid and can be given.

5. Joe, the patients teacher, testifies that the patient suffered from a fracture in his leg.
Yes. The witness is giving his opinion, and he is not an expert on medical injuries. He
could testify about what the leg looked like and his perception of the patients pain
through observation of the patient.
6. Meghan has never been in the car with Evelyn or seen her driving. Meghan testifies
that Evelyn is a careless driver. Yes. Meghan does not have first hand knowledge of
Evelyns driving habits, so she cannot testify.
7. Calvin testifies that his friend told him the car behind them was going fast and the
driver wasnt paying attention when he crashed. Yes. This is hearsay. Calvin cannot use
what his friend said outside of court to prove that the driver wasnt paying attention. He
also does not have first hand knowledge of this.