By Ben Pfenninger
The Following is a list of objections from the Midlands Rules of Evidence that I felt were either funny or useful to Mock Trial and have ranked them accordingly. Bear with me, I am not an attorney and probably said something that is just flat wrong or that you disagree with. I apologize in advance.
23) 803.2 Excited Utterance
The only reason this one makes the bottom of the list is not because it’s not useful (it is) but its because how I’ve seen it used. For those that don’t know to use excited utterance a little foundation has to be laid. What you see A LOT in mock trial is the really obvious set up from the witness for the lazy attorney.
Ex. Atty “What happened Next?”
Witt. “Bob was sweating and crying and peeing in his pants and then uttered at the top of his lungs really excitedly “THE FUTURE DEFENDANT IS COMMITING A CRIME”
This bothers me. It should bother you.
22) 803.1 Present Sense Impression
This is one can also be useful but in Mock Trial people seem to interpret it as “oh if the person says anything describing anything that ever happened ever it’s admissible” Annoying
21) 702 Expert Witness
I don’t like science or math. This list is subjective don’t hate on me you science mockers out there.
I respect you even if I don’t understand you.
20) 803.3 Then existing mental, emotion, or physical condition.
Same general problem as 803.1 I get annoyed when I can tell the attorney knows a rule doesn’t apply but tries to make the square peg go through the circular hole. I mean kudos to you for trying but just no.
19) 804.b2 Hearsay Exception Statement Under the Belief of Imminent Death
This rule is SO COOl! Its just low on the list because not enough people say things before they die (or disappear hang in there Lee) for it to be useful to Midland’s lawyers.
18) 403 Irrelevant, More Prejudicial than Probative, misleading the jury, cumulative
This one covers a lot of things that attorneys look out for so they can jump up and sound like opposing counsel has caused a great injustice against them. That the line of questioning is so irrelevant it could bring our justice system crashing down around our knees if allowed to continue.
17) 404a Character Evidence
Just too confusing. I’m not ashamed to admit it. This confuses me and I don’t like it. Kuddos to
you if you actually do. (note actually do, not think you do)
16) 405 Methods of proving character
If I didn’t like the other character stands to reason that I wouldn’t rate this one much higher.
15) 406 Habit
If I didn’t like the other character stands to reason that I wouldn’t rate this one much higher….picking up on a habit here.
14) 803.6 & 803.8 Business and Public records
The amount of foundation needed for these is pretty long and ridiculous which makes for very tedious directs. (I lumped them together because my reasoning was the same for both and thought I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t shorten the foundation for this list as well.)
13) 605 Judge’s Competency as a Witness
Never seen this come up in mock trial but it makes me giggle it just says the judge cant testify. You don’t even have to object the record knows Judges be kray.
12) 608 A Witness’s Character for Truthfulness or Untruthfulness
So I know I was down on character before because it’s confusing but I understand this one. If you lie the courts gonna find out. You can lie but you can’t hide.
11) 104.e Goes to the weight not admissibility
The scales are starting to tilt in the favor of objections I like more but this one is nice for when the other side starts heckling you with relevance objections. Also a nice net if you don’t have a good response.
10) 704 Ultimate Issue
If you have an expert and they say anything that contains the same language as anything in the complaint people legitimately lose their Sh… Marbles. Read the rule though to find out why they should cool it.
9) 407 Subsequent Remedial Measures
Another one not often used in Midlands BUT I find it makes so much logical sense I can’t not include it. If I make lawnmowers and my lawnmowers start exploding when touched by children and I fix the problem so children don’t explode you can’t use that against me. Otherwise if I’m a greedy person lots of children would die.
8) 602 No personal knowledge
A good one to use in Mock because often when you work with a case for as long as we do sometimes who knows what blends together and confuses everyone. Just make sure all the foundation is there.
7) 106 Rule of Completeness
As a frequent witness I love this rule because it’s one of the few that benefits us when we get impeached (of course you have to have an attorney with a brain or it doesn’t work)
6) 401 Relevance
I like this one when the other side uses it. Because you can bet that if my team is asking a question they will know why they are asking and then they get to tell the judge all about how smart and relevant your questions are.
5) 402 Admissibility of Relevant Evidence
I laughed at this for a while. it says that relevant evidence is admissible unless the rules says it isn’t. Simple and to the point.
4) 705 Disclosing the Facts or Data Underlying an Expert’s Opinion
I enjoy this one because even seasoned Mockers sometimes ignore this one, and there is nothing better than getting to throw a rule number back in the face of someone that objects to your foundation.
3) 806. Attacking and Supporting the Declarant’s Credibility
Without this rule impeachments wouldn’t be possible which is where most of the drama in mock trial happens… Although I would be interested in portraying a witness without having to answer to an affidavit.
2) 801.d2 Party Opponent
This gets the number 2 slot simply because of its simplicity. It is always nice when you get the witness that is just filled with the defendant’s statements and you don’t have to bother trying to cram statements into this hearsay or that hearsay exception.
1) 701 Lay witness opinion
1st place goes to lay witness opinion (in my opinion) and I may be biased as I was never trusted to be an expert but this rule is what gives our affidavits the wiggle room it needs to bring witnesses to life. It also is super natural for a witness to set this up just by saying natural buzzwords like saw heard touched observed, its natural and easy to work.