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Pre - marking evidence in Municipal court relating to a police reports , traffic ticket , and consent to search form .

Stone Harbor, NJ |

I will be using evidence in my up coming municipal court case and am wondering the process for having the evidence admitted into evidence . i read some books relating to evidence in municipal court and am a bit confused . Do i pre mark them for identification purposes before going to court ? or Do i ask the judge to mark them for identification purposes ? is there a step by step process i . e . 1st pre mark evidence , hand it to judge , hand it to witness , then after " authenticating " and asking questions do i move it into evidence ? Any help would be much appreciated ! ! !

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Attorney answers 3


Items are marked for identification by the court administrator as directed by the Judge. The item is requested for marking as you need them (in Municipal Court) because there is not enough time to premark exhibits. You ask the Judge to have an exhibit marked then give it to the Court Administrator for marking. The witness then is questioned about the exhibit. If it is relevant and proper foundation is established you can move that the item become evidence. If the Court agrees the item will be marked into evidence. There are simply too many variations that may arise to state anything in more detail.



thank you. Just one clarification. should i be making 2-3 copies of each exhibit i.e. one to hand to the court administrator to request that it be marked, one to hand to the prosecutor, one to hand to the witness? or is the same one used i.e. hand it to the court administrator for marking THEN she hands it back to me, etc.

Mark M Cheser

Mark M Cheser


The original is the "best evidence". But copies can be used if authenticated by the witness. You are rewuired to should all records and copies of exhibits to the prosecutor in discovery prior to the trial if they gave you discovery or s/he can move to suppress it for failure to disclose. You do not need other copies but if you put it in evidence and you do not have an additional copy for yourself you do not have that in your file anymore.


Since I am not licensed in your state I will defer to lawyers who are, but I will give you the basic procedure that I am familiar with in my practice. Exhibits are "marked" for identification purposes by the party offer them. Here in PA the Commonwealth's exhibits are marked with numerals 1, 2, 3, . . . while defense exhibits are marked alphabetically A, B, C, . . . Unless you have a lot of documents or other physical evidence that you anticipate may be used by you, it is more efficient and less confusing for you to mark them ahead of time in the order you anticipate offering them. that way you can have a sheet with each exhibit's identification letter noted with a description of the item so marked. Again in my experience the court will not have a problem if you end up using during them out of alphabetic order. Alternatively you can mark them sequentially as you make use of each. Exhibits are ordinarily authenticated by a witness (more than one may have the ability to do this) based upon personal familiarity with the exhibit or what the exhibit represents (as in the case of a photograph) e.g. "Does this photograph fairly represent the appearance of the car at the time you observed it?" The exhibit should be shown to the opposing party's attorney before showing handing it to the witness for identification. Once the exhibit has been identified and authenticated it can be offered into evidence and shown to/offered to the court. At the end of your case before concluding your presentation of evidence, it is a good practice to offer as exhibits for consideration by the court ALL of your exhibits that have been identified and authenticated even if you did so at the time they were being addressed in the testimony of a witness. That way you insure that you did not neglect to move a particular exhibit into evidence. Good luck. I suppose you understand that the better procedure would be have an experienced lawyer handling the presentation of your defense.


I agree with Mr. Cheser however if you are concerned about how to handle a trial you should consider retaining an attorney to represent you at the trial or even just to consult with you on trial preparation.

No attorney-client relationship is created as a result of this submission. The information and answer provided is of a general advisory nature based on the limited information provided and should not be constured as formal legal advise.

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