Articles

Can An Expert Relay Hearsay Evidence To The Jury?

Oct 30, 2017

The California Supreme Court recently answered this question in People v. Sanchez, 63 Cal. 4th 665 (2016) as follows: No—not if the hearsay communicates case-specific facts. While an expert may assume the existence of case-specific facts to explain his or her opinion, the expert cannot relay such facts and treat them as true. Sanchez is important for trial lawyers because it restores the distinction between general background hearsay (which can be relayed...

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Examining Expert Witnesses in the Post-Sanchez Era

Oct 05, 2017

In People v. Sanchez, 63 Cal. 4th 665 (2016), the California Supreme Court decided that an expert witness cannot relay hearsay that communicates case-specific facts to the jury. This post examines how trial lawyers can and should examine expert witnesses in the post-Sanchez era. 

As a starting point, practitioners should master familiarity with Evidence Code section 801. Section 801 sets forth the allowable limits on which expert witnesses may offer opinions as well as the...

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Understanding the Business Records Exception to the Hearsay Rule

Sep 30, 2017

A deep understanding of the business records exception to the hearsay rule is essential in all stages of litigation—not just trial. Depositions are fertile grounds for advocates familiar with the rules to skillfully probe a witness and establish (or, if opposing the record's admissibility, debunk) the preliminary facts to admit a business record (including the document's admission for pre-trial motions). Likewise, misunderstanding this hearsay exception can cause...

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