Monday, May 19, 2003

Evidence Exam: Try Your Hand -- Risk-Free!

In my recent Evidence exam I returned to some of my favorite topics: impeachment, character evidence, constitutional right(s) of criminal defendants to adduce evidence and attack adverse evidence, and similar matters. I gave my Evidence students the take-home question found below. Try your hand! I will not question or criticize -- because I already have my hands full with the exam answers (and other materials) that I now have to grade.


The State of Blackacre indicts Albert Accused. It charges him with the robbery and rape of Vila Victim on January 1, 2003. Albert Accused pleads not guilty.

At trial Vila testifies that Albert robbed and raped her on January 1, 2003.

During cross-examination Albert's counsel asks Vila if it isn't true that she suffers from delusions. Vila replies, "No."

Albert’s counsel also asks Vila, “Aren’t your charges against Albert a tissue of lies?” Vila replies, “No.”

Later in the trial Albert's counsel offers to have a social psychologist testify that Vila is a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic who suffers from delusions and makes false statements to relieve social stress.

The prosecutor objects to this proffered testimony. Albert's counsel argues that the testimony of the social psychologist is admissible to impeach Vila's credibility as a witness.

You are the trial judge's law clerk. Prepare a memorandum for the trial judge assessing the admissibility of the testimony of the social psychologist.