a.         Evidence – testimony or items, admitted into court, to prove an issue or support an action.




a.         Chain of Custody – accounting of the whereabouts of a piece of physical evidence from its seizure until its introduction into court as evidence.  Its purpose is to prove that item has not been tampered with.  Applies to physical or documentary evidence.




a.         Best Evidence Rule – rule of evidence which states that the original of a piece of documentary evidence must be entered as evidence, instead of a copy, unless it can be shown that the original was lost or destroyed through no fault of the party offering it.  Designed to prevent changes to the document which could not be detected.




a.         Because it depends on the credibility of a person other than the witness.  Source of evidence cannot be cross-examined and is therefore not reliable.

b.         Hearsay may be used in every step of the information gathering process, and may be used as part of the probable cause needed to arrest or search, but may not be used in trial unless it falls under one of the exceptions to the Hearsay Rule, or unless the original source of the information testifies (in which case it is not hearsay anymore).

c.         Any time a police officer is acting as a witness to prove the contents of the report, if the officer got his information from other people.  If the officer witnesses what is in report, it is not hearsay.

            d.         The nine exceptions to the Hearsay Rule:


                        1)         Admissions and Confessions

                        2)         Dying declarations

                        3)         Spontaneous statements

4)         Past recollection recorded (can use a police report as a past recollection)

                        5)         Present memory refreshed (can use a police report to refresh)

                        6)         Prior testimony

                        7)         Anonymous sources

                        8)         Public records (applies to police reports)

                        9)         Business records (applies to police reports)




a.         Not be too suggestive – the relative suggestiveness of the method used (and whether it was appropriate to the circumstances) and how suggestively that identification method was employed.

            b.         Lineups – when the suspect or defendant is in physical custody.

Photospreads – when the suspect is known but is not in custody.

One-on-one confrontations – When the suspect is detained.

c.         Bates Rules – make one-on-one confrontations no more than a few minutes after crime.

                        No coaching of witness.

d.         The Court will look at the other factors for admitting these types of identifications:


                        1)         Opportunity of witness to view suspect at time of crime.

                        2)         Witness’ degree of attention at time of crime.

                        3)         Accuracy of prior descriptions.

                        4)         Certainty of identification at confrontation.

                        5)         Pressure put on witness to make identification.


            e.         Identification by Witness in danger of death.


1)         You apprehend a suspect at the scene of a violent assault.  The victim, in your opinion, is in serious danger of immediate death.  You may bring the suspect before the victim for identification if you reasonably believe that the victim may not survive long enough for a lineup viewing.


                        Immediate Identification – Demanded by a Suspect


1)         You receive a report of a bank robbery.  As you approach the bank, you spot a man who meets the description of the bank robber carrying a canvas sack and running away from the bank.  You apprehend him and give him the required warnings.  His immediate response is a demand that he be then and there confronted by the witnesses.  In these circumstances his identification need not await his appearance in a stationhouse lineup.


f.          No lawyer need be present if not formally charged.  If formally charged, lawyer must be present.

            g.         No restrictions, can be used in court.


6.         Evidence gathered illegally will be suppressed.

            a.         Can’t use it unless it falls into one of the four (4) exceptions.

b.         Evidence poisoned by illegal means, everything that came from that is also tainted.

c.         Exclusionary Rule punishes police officers who violate the 4th, 5th or 6th Amendments.  Police really not punished though because all that happens is their case is thrown out.  It is society that really suffers because a criminal is back on the streets.

d.         According to the concept of right and remedy, there still needs to be a remedy if our rights are to mean anything.  The Exclusionary Rule is the best thing we’ve got right now.

e.         Impeachment, Independent Source, Inevitable Discovery, Good Faith Exception.


1)         Impeachment – illegally gotten confession can still be used to impeach a witness if he takes the stand, testifies in his own behalf, and contradicts the contents of the confession.

2)         Independence Source – need to show that evidence was found by a source entirely untainted by original illegal evidence.

3)         Inevitable Discovery – would have eventually been found through a legal police procedure.

                        4)         Good Faith – officer really thought everything was good to go.