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Evidence

Exam 9
30 minutes

Fact Pattern

A victim had just walked out of a jewelry store carrying a package containing a diamond bracelet when someone grabbed him from behind, put a gun to his back, and demanded the package. The victim handed the package over his shoulder to the robber. The robber said, “Close your eyes and count to 20. I’ll be watching, and if you mess up, I’ll shoot you.” The victim did as he was told, and when he opened his eyes, the robber was gone. The victim immediately called 911 on his cell phone.

The victim did not see the robber. A witness on the other side of the street saw the entire encounter. While the victim was speaking to the 911 operator, the witness ran over to the victim and shouted, “Are you all right? I saw it all!”

A police officer arrived five minutes later and took a statement from the witness, who was wringing her hands and pacing. The police officer asked the witness, “What did you see?” The witness responded, “The robber is about six feet tall. He has brownish hair, almost buzzed to the scalp. He was wearing jeans and a blue jacket.” The police officer called in the description to the police station.

The defendant, who is over six feet tall and has buzzed brown hair, was picked up 30 minutes later. When the police officer stopped him, he was six blocks from the scene of the robbery. The defendant was wearing jeans and a blue jacket but did not have a gun or the bracelet in his possession. He was brought to the police station for questioning and was placed in a lineup.

The police officer brought the witness to the police station to view the lineup. The witness viewed the lineup and identified the defendant as the robber. The defendant was arrested and charged with robbery.

One week after the robbery, the witness moved overseas. One year later, at the time of the defendant’s trial, the witness could not be found.

The victim and the police officer both testified at trial for the prosecution. The police officer testified as follows:

Question: When you arrived at the scene of the robbery, did you obtain a description of the robber?

Answer: Yes. The witness said that the robber was about six feet tall, with very short, brownish hair, almost buzzed to the scalp, and that he was wearing jeans and a blue jacket.

Question: Did you gather any other evidence indicating that the defendant committed this robbery?

Answer: Yes. When I was walking into the police station with the victim, we overheard the defendant in an adjoining room. As soon as the victim heard the defendant’s voice, the victim said, “That’s the voice of the guy who robbed me.”

Question: What do you know about the defendant?

Answer: He’s a known drug dealer who had been hanging around in the area where the jewelry store is located for six months before the robbery, constantly causing trouble.

The trial was held in a jurisdiction that has rules identical to the Federal Rules of Evidence. Defense counsel made timely objections to the admission of the following evidence:

(a) The police officer’s testimony recounting the witness’s statement at the scene.

(b) The police officer’s testimony recounting the victim’s statement while walking into the police station.

(c) The police officer’s testimony that the defendant is a “known drug dealer who had been hanging around in the area where the jewelry store is located for six months before the robbery, constantly causing trouble.”

The trial judge overruled all of defense counsel’s objections.


Questions

  1. Was this evidence properly admitted? Explain.

Question 1

Was this evidence properly admitted? Explain.

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