Past Grade Distributions
The rules of evidence define how facts are proven in civil and criminal litigation. Focusing on the Federal Rules of Evidence, this course will give students a broad survey of the rules combined with in-depth analysis of how they apply in specific circumstances and how the entire litigation process -- from the filing of a complaint to final judgment after trial and appeal -- is shaped by evidentiary principles. Analysis of appellate case law will play, at most, a very limited role in the course. Although denoted a "lecture" course to signal that class enrollment is not limited, the teaching format will not be based primarily on lectures. Instead, class discussions will be centered around hands-on solving of specific problems, with emphasis on formulating questions, making and ruling on objections, and planning how to get facts before a jury. Simulation and role-playing will be used from time to time.
By the end of this course, students should:
• Have acquired a working knowledge of the Federal Rules of Evidence;
• Have a thorough understanding of the policies underlying those Rules;
• Know how the Wisconsin Rules of Evidence materially differ from the Federal Rules;
• Be able to identify evidentiary issues raised by the facts in relation to the pleadings, and by questions asked during a witness' examination; and
• With respect to those issues, articulate the strengths and weaknesses of the positions of the proponent of the evidence and of the opponent of the evidence.