245 Evidence

A study of the theory and rules governing presentation of evidence to a judicial tribunal, including the concepts of relevancy, character evidence, judicial notice, real and demonstrative evidence, and expert testimony.

Course Areas of Practice
Evaluation Methods
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation
Degree Requirements
Course Type
  • Lecture
Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law

Sample Syllabi

Fall 2021

2021
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.03 4
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation
Brandon L. Garrett MWTh 9:00 AM-10:15 AM 3037
What facts are heard in court, by whom, and how those facts are evaluated, is the subject matter of the law of evidence. This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. The overarching goals of the course are to (1) explain what evidence can be properly introduced (or excluded), and (2) offer a methodology for finding these answers in the wide variety of scenarios that arise in litigation. With that in mind, we will review practical problems throughout the course. We will begin with an introduction to the Federal Rules of Evidence, the role of judicial notice, and then concepts of relevance and unfair prejudice, largely following the order of the federal rules of evidence. We will then turn to character evidence, and lay and expert opinion. Next, we will explore hearsay, the ways in which the U.S. Constitution regulates evidence, authentication, and policy-based rules. Finally, we will briefly discuss privileges. In general, Professor Garrett will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules, along with practical problems to review the material that will be discussed in each class.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

245.04 3
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation
Shane Stansbury M/W 4:00 PM-5:25 PM 3037

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will first take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will then address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, particularly the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, and the screening of scientific and expert testimony. The course concludes with an introduction to other evidentiary concepts, such as privileges and authentication. Assigned materials will include both cases and real-world problems that will allow students to put the rules into practice. We will also occasionally make use of films and other materials from popular culture.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Spring 2021

2021
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.01 4
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation
Donald H. Beskind MWTh 2:00 PM-3:15 PM

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will first take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will then address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, particularly the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, and the screening of scientific and expert testimony. The course concludes with an introduction to evidentiary privileges. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and popular culture about trials. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Fall 2020

2020
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.02 4
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation
Lisa Kern Griffin MWTh 2:00 PM-3:15 PM

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will first take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will then address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, particularly the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, and the screening of scientific and expert testimony. The course concludes with an introduction to evidentiary privileges. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and popular culture about trials. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

**Fall 2020 information for Professor Griffin’s class: Although the course will be taught on line, I will also schedule some in-person meetings and small-group sessions on campus if possible, with virtual options for students who cannot attend. There is one assigned time block for the course, but the structure of classes will vary, and students will be divided into sections, discussion groups, and panels. We will have some synchronous whole-group meetings and some class time divided between sections. There will be occasional asynchronous content, including short lectures, podcasts, and some documentary footage. Students will have advance notice of all required participation elements. Evaluation will be based on these in-class exercises, interim quizzes, and a final essay exam.

Syllabus: 245.02.Fall2020-syllabus.pdf78.44 KB

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Spring 2020

2020
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.01 4
  • Final Exam
Donald H. Beskind MWTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM 3043

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Fall 2019

2019
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.02 4
  • Final Exam
Lisa Kern Griffin MWTh 2:00-3:15 PM 3041

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Spring 2019

2019
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.01 4
  • Final Exam
Donald H. Beskind MWTh 2:00-3:15 PM 4047

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Fall 2018

2018
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.01 4
  • Final Exam
Donald H. Beskind MWTh 2:00-3:15 PM 3037

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Spring 2018

2018
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.01 4
  • Final Exam
Donald H. Beskind MWTh 2:00-3:15 PM 3037

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Fall 2017

2017
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.02 4
  • Scheduled in-class examination
Lisa Kern Griffin MWTh 2:00-3:15 PM 3037

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Spring 2017

2017
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.01 4
  • Scheduled in-class examination
Donald H. Beskind MWTh 9:00-10:15 AM 3043

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Fall 2016

2016
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.02 4
  • Variable by section
Lisa Kern Griffin MWTh 1:45-3:00 PM 3043

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

Spring 2016

2016
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

245.02 4 Kenworthey Bilz MWTh 3:45-5:00 PM 3043

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.