University of Wisconsin–Madison

Evidence : the Objection Method

This week I’d like to introduce the book:

Evidence : the Objection Method / Dennis D. Prater ... [et al.].
4th edition.  New Providence, NJ : LexisNexis, c2011.
Location:  KF8934 E84 2011

The library gets in numerous books every week.  When I saw the sub-title “Objection Method,” I wondered if this book might be a useful teaching tool?  After all, the making of and ruling on objections is an important aspect of a hands-on approach to learning evidentiary principles.

A look at the book’s table of contents will give us an idea of the bigger picture:

Mode and order of presenting evidence -- Objections and offers of proof -- Competency -- Relevance -- Relevance : special rules -- Character evidence, prior bad acts, and habit -- Foundational requirements -- Best evidence rule -- Opinion testimony -- Hearsay defined -- Hearsay exclusions -- Hearsay exceptions dependent on the unavailability of the declarant -- Hearsay exceptions not requiring declarant unavailability -- Residual exception to the hearsay rule -- Hearsay and the confrontation clause -- Shortcuts to proof : judicial notice and presumptions -- Impeachment -- Privilege.

A closer look at the outline of Chapter 2 “Objections and Offers of Proof” gives us an idea of the overall structure of the casesbook:

A. Introduction - [1] Illustration - [2] Federal Rule of Evidence
B. Contemporaneous Objection - United States v. Spriggs - Notes
C. Requirement for Specific Objection - United States v. Wilson - Note
D. The Rationale for Requiring Specific and Timely Objections - Owen v. Patton - Notes
E. Offer of Proof - United States v. Winkle - Notes - Problem 2-1 - Problem 2-2

The Preface states a new edition was necessitated by the Evidence Rules Restyling Project which rewrote every single one of the Federal Rules of Evidence in a “clear and consistent style.”  The goal, of course, is to make them simpler, easier to read, easier to understand.  These changes to the rules became effective December 1, 2011.

A side-by-side comparison of the language of the old and new rules is presented in the book’s Introduction.  It should be noted with respect to the case law presented in the book “that even though the language (of the rules) is often different, the result of the case will, by definition, not change – because the Restyled Rules change style only.”

Finally, two of the authors, Professor Daniel Capra and Professor Stephen Saltzburg, had a hand in crafting the restyled rules.  Professor Capra serves as Reporter to Judicial Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules and Professor Saltzburg served as a consultant on the Restyling project.

You can find the new Federal Rules of Evidence online at Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII).  The website has not yet been updated, but should be shortly.

Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on December 7, 2011

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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