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Author Topic: Anybody care to help me earn a 1/2 grade bump?  (Read 660 times)

swifty

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Anybody care to help me earn a 1/2 grade bump?
« on: November 21, 2004, 09:43:58 PM »
I am taking an Evidence class, and the Prof says if I can convince him that one of my answers was actually correct, if explained well, with supporting "evidence, ie, you guys)
I can get an extra 1/2 grade bump on the test.  This is one of the easiest questions he marked wrong and it was the very first question. 

T or F: A witness is incompetent to testify about matters of which he or she has no personal knowledge.
   
My argument would be that an expert witness does not need to have personal knowlwedge, as s/he is might only testifying about well for example, DNA evidence and how it works.  This person has no personal knowledge of the case or parties.  So I answered it false, when the correct answer according the the Prof is True.  His argument is that we all should know that when using the term witness, we should all presume this to be a layperson unless otherwise told so.  Bull.  What do you people think?  I won't cut and paste your replies for him to see, I'll just summarize them in a one page statement as he wants.  Do I have chance?  No?  Yes?  Nobody has taken evidence yet?  I really want to show how questions like that should not be even asked.  I have others I missed, but this is the easiest.  Your help really would be greatly appreciated.

Swifty

And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..

jeffjoe

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Re: Anybody care to help me earn a 1/2 grade bump?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2004, 09:53:18 PM »
I suspect you can't win this one.  He is giving you his arbitrary rule for what a witness means.
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swifty

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Re: Anybody care to help me earn a 1/2 grade bump?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2004, 10:01:55 PM »
I suspect you can't win this one.  He is giving you his arbitrary rule for what a witness means.

But he stated that after the test, and there was no mention of it in the book.  He never lectured that a witness is presumed to be a layperson.  That's why the question is unfair, at least to me.
And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..

zemog

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Re: Anybody care to help me earn a 1/2 grade bump?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2004, 01:35:48 AM »
I tend to disagree with your argument.  How could an attorney ask an expert witness to give testimony he/she has no knowledge of the case, and then assume that expert will bolster his side?  You would have to brief the case or fine points to the expert witness to see what their view point is.  It's not like you would call an expert witness up and say, "hey, I got a trial soon and I need you to talk about DNA.  See ya there."  If not at the initial call, at some point before trial you will have to brief the case to him. I mean, you'll have to tell him the case, and then see if he will benefit you by his opinion based on his expertise.  If he's not going to help your case based on his answers or view points, then there's no use to use him. 

No attorney is going to blindly put a DNA expert on the stand if he's not going to say something to support their side.  My point is, no matter what, he will have some knowledge of the case. 

I suspect you can't win this one.  He is giving you his arbitrary rule for what a witness means.

But he stated that after the test, and there was no mention of it in the book.  He never lectured that a witness is presumed to be a layperson.  That's why the question is unfair, at least to me.

swifty

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Re: Anybody care to help me earn a 1/2 grade bump?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2004, 05:22:00 AM »
If the expert witness has personal knowledge, (meaning he has direct or circumstantial evidence other than his expertise, that is probative to the outcome of the case) he would be disqualified for conflict of interest.  Take the DNA Expert in OJ Simpsons case, the one called by the DA., she has nor had any "personal knowledge" of the case, yet testified for 3 days or so, solely to explain the accurracy of DNA results and the methodology used.

I should define "personal knowledge" and it will be easier to explain.  I forgot, and can't look it up right now, the exact elements needed to have "peronal knowledge" I mean.

And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..

zemog

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Re: Anybody care to help me earn a 1/2 grade bump?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2004, 09:33:54 AM »
I never took the class, so I'm going to be a little off.  But I did a quick search on the internet, is this question related to rule 602 below?  It seems like his question is straight from this rule and I would assume the term "witness" refers to lay person also (at least in the context in how it is used in rule 602, because it then refers to using expert witnesses below), if that's the case.

Anyways, I'm probably doing more harm than good, so I'll shut up now.  ???  Hopefully someone can help you.  Good luck. 

Rule 602. Lack of Personal Knowledge
A witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may, but need not, consist of the witness' own testimony. This rule is subject to the provisions of rule 703, relating to opinion testimony by expert witnesses.

If the expert witness has personal knowledge, (meaning he has direct or circumstantial evidence other than his expertise, that is probative to the outcome of the case) he would be disqualified for conflict of interest.  Take the DNA Expert in OJ Simpsons case, the one called by the DA., she has nor had any "personal knowledge" of the case, yet testified for 3 days or so, solely to explain the accurracy of DNA results and the methodology used.

I should define "personal knowledge" and it will be easier to explain.  I forgot, and can't look it up right now, the exact elements needed to have "peronal knowledge" I mean.