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Evidentiary Rulings

Why do evidence classes spend more than a month on hearsay? Because it is tricky, arguably convoluted, but as with such things fitting that negative description, it is important. A lawyer who is skillful in using objections, or defeating them, will strengthen his/her case and project confidence in so doing.

In my last blog post entitle ‘Evidence, Evidence, Evidence’, I wrote of the enduring principle in guiding the admission of evidence: that it have an indicia of reliability or trustworthiness. Yes, then, there is sense to the rules.

Some states have a codified set of rules. In fact, in the federal system, there are Federal Rules of Evidence. In Massachusetts, we do not have a codified set of rules but since September of 2008 we have a “Massachusetts Guide to Evidence.” While not a set of rules nor predictive of what a judge would do, its purpose is to make the law of evidence “accessible and understandable.” By its terms, the Guide says it is to inform lawyers, judges and the public. A worthy purpose.

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