One of my favorite blogs – federalevidencereview has this post today.

On April 4, 2014 the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules is scheduled to conduct its Spring 2014 meeting, which is open to the public. The Committee will be meeting in Portland, Maine. Recently, the agenda for the meeting was released (a modified pdf of the agenda is here. In addition to the agenda, materials for meeting have been released and are available in a rather large pdf file, here. Of course, the agenda materials were available at the Committee’s website.

Some items of interest include:

II. Proposed Amendments to Rule 801(d)(1)(B) and Rules 803(6)-(8)

The proposed amendments to Rule 801(d)(1)(B) and to Rules 803(6), (7), and (8)were approved by the Standing Committee and the Judicial Conference, and are currently before the Supreme Court. Barring any unforeseen developments, these amendments will become effective on December 1, 2014. The agenda book sets forth the rules and notes as they were approved by the Judicial Conference.

Should the change be affected, they are automatically assimilated into the MRE 18 months after 1 December 2014, absent Presidential action.  See MRE

IV. Possible Amendment to Rule 609(a)

The agenda book contains a memo on consideration of a possible amendment to Rule 609(a) — the rule governing admission of most prior convictions to impeach a witness’s character for truthfulness. The possible amendment is to abrogate the part of the rule that provides for automatic admission of all recent convictions involving a dishonest act or false statement, and to allow some judicial discretion to exclude such convictions by balancing probative value against the risk of prejudice, confusion and delay.V. Consideration of Possible Changes to the Hearsay Exceptions

The agenda book contains the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in United States v. Boyce, _ F.3d _ (7th Cir. Feb. 13, 2014) (No. 13-1087)]? In that case, Judge Posner in a concurring opinion recommends that the hearsay exceptions for present sense impressions and excited utterance should be reconsidered, because the rationales for these exceptions are not supported either by social science data or common sense. Judge Posner suggests more broadly that the hearsay exceptions are too complex — and that there should be a single exception for hearsay that the trial court finds to be reliable: “essentially a simplification of Rule 807.” The clerk of the Seventh Circuit sent the Boyce opinion to the Advisory Committee for its consideration.

V. Consideration of Possible Changes to the Hearsay Exceptions

The agenda book contains the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in United States v. Boyce, _ F.3d _ (7th Cir. Feb. 13, 2014) (No. 13-1087)]? In that case, Judge Posner in a concurring opinion recommends that the hearsay exceptions for present sense impressions and excited utterance should be reconsidered, because the rationales for these exceptions are not supported either by social science data or common sense. Judge Posner suggests more broadly that the hearsay exceptions are too complex — and that there should be a single exception for hearsay that the trial court finds to be reliable: “essentially a simplification of Rule 807.” The clerk of the Seventh Circuit sent the Boyce opinion to the Advisory Committee for its consideration.

And VII. Crawford Outline

The agenda book contains the Reporter’s updated outline on cases applying the Supreme Court’s Confrontation Clause jurisprudence.

One Response to “Talking about rules”

  1. Advocaat says:

    I like the idea of a single hearsay exception, and Prof. Sklansky’s learned article “Hearsay’s Last Hurrah” is a good read on the decline of the rule, the impact Crawford has had on the link between hearsay and cross-examination, and the need for a more meaningful understanding of confrontation.  (Oh, and thank goodness NC State-Xavier did not impact my billion dollar bracket!)