Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MBE Fast Fact: Exclusion of Witnesses

The MBE tests Rule 615 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which states the general rule that a party can request the court to order witnesses excluded so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses.

Those who are not excluded are witnesses who are also (1): parties to the lawsuit, (2): an officer or employee of a party (generally the representative of a party),  (3): a person whose presence is shown by a party to be essential to the presentation of his case, and (4): a person authorized by statute to be present.

In regards to (2), above, an example might be a police officer who has been in charge of an investigation remaining in court despite the fact that he will be a witness. Number (3) is sometimes a tough standard to apply, but a classic example is an expert whose testimony is going to be based on evidence presented at trial.  The expert witness will be not be included among those who can be excluded as per Rule 615.

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