It can depend on the type of evidence being offered. You need to read the rules of evidence. Good luck.
My response to your question is a generic response and should not be construed as controlling to your case. I can not effectively advise about your case without knowing all the facts. Additionally, my response does not create an attorney-client relationship. You can contact my office to schedule an appointment if you would like to have me represent you.
Of course you don't. That is why you are taking the mock trial class. First, learn the elements of the charge that you have to prove, working from your annotated statutes and state pattern jury instructions. From your case file see what evidence you have available. Between the two, figure out what evidence you will want to put in to prove your case. Sit down with the Virginia rules of evidence for a few days and think about what problems you can expect to encounter and how you are going to meet them. Spend a few days at your local courthouse watching how it's done. It never gets any easier, so you might as well start now.
Hmmm . . . I looked over your question again and I see that you said "college." I had assumed that you were asking about a moot court program in law school. So it will be harder for you to understand what I suggested above, but they are going to cut you a lot more slack. What I said above is still the right way although it may be a bit over your head. Go to a local law library and ask for the material I suggested above. The librarian may enjoy helping you. Good luck.
You should ask your professor for guidance. That is his job.
J Charles Ferrari
Eng & Nishimura
The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.
Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.
I am hoping that what the judges of your mock trial will be looking for is a basic understanding of the steps that an attorney must take to enter evidence into the record of a court proceeding. The reason I am hoping that is the case is because Virginia does not (until this year), have a single codification of the rules of evidence. There are some good resources out there for the specific rules, e.g., hearsay, which I am sure you could be pointed to by a law school librarian (the question says you are from Lynchburg which means you must be close to Liberty's law school).
If the judges of your trial are looking only for the procedure to enter evidence, you must do what is called laying a foundation. I have outlined a gross simplification of the process below:
1. Mark the evidence you want to introduce, because you can't be the one to identify what it actually is, you want to be able to identify the evidence easily, e.g., "Exhibit 1" or "Exhibit A".
2. When it is time in your case to introduce the evidence you want to show the evidence to opposing counsel and potentially the judge (the judge will see it anyway but may ask to see it ahead of time). You will utilize a witness to identify and authenticate the evidence which will complete your foundation.
3. Either ask the item to be handed to the witness or show the item to the witness and ask them to identify what it is that you are holding. Something along the lines of "Do you recognize this? (let them answer yes) Then ask "Would you please tell the court what this is?"
4. Once you have identified the item of evidence, you must complete the foundation by authenticating the evidence. That means you must be able to show that the item is what the witness has purported it to be. You can achieve this by showing the item is distinctive or by showing that the chain of custody for the evidence is unbroken (this can typically be done by showing the seals on the evidence are unbroken). This also is done by asking questions of the witness on the stand who identified the item.
5. Now that you have laid the foundation, you want to move to admit the evidence.
6. Once admitted, you can ask permission to publish (show) the item to the jury.
Again, this is a very rudimentary overview of the steps to enter something into evidence. I am hoping that you will not be required to know all of the Rules of Evidence as that is something barely covered in an entire semester course in law school. I hope this helps answer your question and wish you the best of luck on your class trial.
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