The Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution
Problem Stipulation & Clarification
Click on a topic below to show the clarification.
- 1. There is no way to introduce the phone records, because there is no witness who can authenticate them.
The parties stipulate that the phone records are admissible by either side with no additional foundation required.
- 2. There is no way to introduce the receipt when the defendant bought gas and a bottle of water.
The gas station receipt is signed by the defendant and, thus, must be admitted by the defendant as authentic if asked by either party.
- 3. In the 911 call exhibit, the caller indicates that the argument is between a male and a female. How do we address the gender issue?
Teams may not object to, or cross examine, Jessie Reynolds regarding differences in his/her voice on the 911 recording and in court; nor may any team cross examine a witness based on the gender reference in the call. Each witness's role is gender neutral; the gender of the student advocate will be the gender of the witness. As for the victim, Sean Franklin, the gender is female. The gender of Taylor Billings is male.
- 4. The hospital records indicate that Morgan Madison was admitted to the hospital on September 25th. Is there any further clarification on the specific time of day, on the 25th, that Morgan got to the hospital?
No further information is being provided.
- 5. Regarding the clarification for the gas station receipt: must the defendant admit only that the signature on the receipt is his? Or, is the document stipulated admissible in its entirety and the defense precluded from moving to exclude certain information on the document, such as the date and time stamp?
There is NO stipulation regarding its admissibility; however, the defendant, if asked, must admit to it because it is signed by the defendant.
- 6. Regarding the picture of the partially burned gas can, is there any further clarification as to the volume or size of the gas can?
No further information will be provided.
- 7. What is the distance from Alex Ferguson’s house to the garage that was burned down?
According to the statement of Alex Ferguson, it's right behind the house. According to Morgan Madison's statement, Morgan and Taylor went to the garage in the alley behind the house. According to Taylor Billings' statement, the garage is behind the house. No further information will be provided.
- 8. Can we assume that the stipulated testimony of Dr. R Quincy and the stipulated testimony of Susan Fischer cure any confrontation clause issue with regards to the admissibility of autopsy report and forensic report?
Medical Examiner and Crime Lab Stipulations via the Confrontation Clause. The reports are not evidence. The stipulations and the accompanying body diagram are the evidence.
- 9. Will a written transcript be provided for the 911 call?
None will be provided.
10. We understand that (1) the gas station receipt is not necessarily stipulated admissible, and (2) that Taylor must admit that that is his signature on the receipt. Our question is simply whether Taylor is still free to state that, while the signature is admittedly his, the date and/or time stamp is not accurate?
In other words, without a custodian to lay a business record foundation for the receipt, Taylor could admit that he signed the receipt, but could state something to the effect of "I signed the receipt, but the machine must not have been working correctly, because the date and/or time is wrong." Would that testimony from Taylor be acceptable?
Taylor must admit to signing the receipt but may testify to any reasonable inferences from the facts.
11. For electronic evidence - may co-counsel assist the person doing direct or cross or must the advocate conducting the exam control computer or other devices for display?
Either of the advocates can control the technology.
12. Is electronic display limited to exhibits in the file or may an advocate use the computer and screen like a white board and write words or phrases used in open or close for the jury?
Traditional advocacy skills may be utilized in the technology.
13. There is a rule about communication during the rounds, and to be sure, advocates may not confer with witnesses on their team during a break or defense with defendant at defense table?
Advocates may not communicate with any witness, (other than the defense with the defendant at counsel table), once the competition begins. You may not "prep" or "coach" these witnesses if a break occurs, or speak to them in any manner. Obviously, this excludes the direct and cross-examinations of witnesses during the course of the trial. This rule is designed to prevent student team members from communicating with coaches or others during the trial, via email, texting or any other method.
14. Can we use case law for evidentiary issues?
No. Case law can vary from state on state on evidentiary issues.
15. Are the photos self-authenticating/admissible without objection; if not, who took them and when?
We do not have police personnel testifying. All photographs are admissible with no further foundation required.
16. Do the witnesses adopt statements contained in reports that they do not sign?
This has been answered by implication (if asked, witness must admit to any statements signed by them).
17. Is there already a foundation for the 911 call recording? If not, how can we establish one?
The foundation for the 911 call needs to be established by the team offering it into evidence.
18. We understand the phone records are stipulated to, but is permissible under the rules to object that they are incomplete? According to the police reports, Cathy Franklin tried calling Sean Franklin multiple times, but none of those calls appear on the phone records and it appears to at least be a fair inference that not all the phone calls are recorded in the call detail records. If they're admissible without foundation and there are no witnesses to bring in Cathy Franklin's calls, then the defense is unable to point out that inconsistency in the records.
The parties may ague any reasonable inference from the evidence. There shall not be any objection to the phone records on the basis that they are "incomplete." Cathy Franklin is not testifying so any inconsistency between her statement and the stipulated records is not relevant.
19. Admissibility of Stipulated Testimony re: Susan Fishcer/Forensics (pgs. 56-61) and Dr. Quincy/Medical Examination (pgs. 62-64). What is the effect of the “stipulation” regarding Susan Fischer and Dr. Quincy’s proposed testimony? Is the testimony admitted as stipulated without further objection? Or can the advocates object to particular parts of the testimony? The reason for the concern is that both stipulations say that the parties stipulate that the person would testify in a particular manner, but it did not stipulate that the testimony is admissible without further foundation or argument.
The stipulations are that the witness would testify to those facts. There are to be no objections to portions of the stipulated testimony.
20. Admissibility of Forensic Exam Report (pgs. 32-34) and Autopsy Report (pg. 30-31). Are these admissible without any further foundation? Are they subject to any further objections or redactions?
The reports themselves, with the exception of the body diagram from the autopsy report, are not admissible. The evidence regarding these two reports consists solely of the entire stipulated testimonies and the body diagram.
21. Regarding FAQ #2, #5, and #10, clarification questions on the gas station receipt: We understand that Taylor Billings may testify to reasonable inferences from the facts, however, in an effort to be certain that we adhere to the rules of the tournament and do not run into any invention of fact issues, we request a clarification on what Taylor Billings can and cannot say, and what argument can be made on summation. Can Taylor Billings say that the time stamp on the receipt must be wrong, because he was in fact at the gas station at 2PM? Can the argument be made on summation that the machine may not have been working properly, and that resulted in the incorrect time stamp.
We will not elaborate on the meaning of "reasonable inferences" or offer opinions on what facts would or would not be reasonable inferences from the existing facts.
22. It has been stated in the FAQs that witnesses must admit to statements signed by them; however, how do we handle statements made by witnesses in the police report when we will be unable to call any police officers to the stand?
We cannot provide advice on how to try the case. No further information will be given.
23. In regards to the receipt, will the state be allowed to introduce it through the defense’s case. Otherwise how else can the state admit it to evidence?
Yes. because the prosecution will not have a rebuttal case, the receipt may be offered into evidence in the defense case-in-chief.
24. We do not want to go out of the record and want to see if it is a reasonable inference if Jesse can identify the rug in evidence as the black and white area rug?
We are not going to comment on what constitutes a reasonable inference from the facts contained in the case file.
25. Did Morgan bond out of jail?
Morgan Madison is still in custody.
26. Can we read in certain stipulations during each side’s case in chief or only our own?
Because stipulations are not dependent on the testimony of any witness, they must be read into the record during the case-in-chief of the party proposing to introduce the stipulation.
27. To clarify a clarification: Does the Defendant need to admit to anything on the receipt other than his signature?
The defendant must admit that the receipt is the actual receipt signed by the defendant. The defendant may testify to any reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the receipt.
28. Can line numbers be added to the witnesses testimonies, to facilitate the process of directing the witness to the corresponding part of their testimony during the process of impeachment?
Line numbers will not be added to the witnesses testimonies.
29. About the photo of the green/gray container found in Marshall Woods: will we be provided with further information about it? Like, who was it taken by? When was it taken?
It's clear that the picture was taken by Evidence Technician Betty Walters sometime after 1:45 pm on September 27th based on a reading the police reports. No further information will be provided.
Apparently the lack of gender specificity of the witnesses in this year’s problem is causing grave concern to a number of teams. Because of this, the Competition is making the following – and final — gender clarifications:
- Sean Franklin (the decedent) is female
- Taylor Billings (the defendant) is male
- Morgan Madison (the witness) is male
- Jesse Reynolds and Alex Ferguson (witnesses) can be either male or female
While we understand student roles may have been assigned based on an unknown gender to this point, the apparent confusion of these gender roles requires us to take this step. Therefore, no matter the gender of your team member playing the role of either Billings or Madison, the witness is to play the role as a male.
The Question & Answer Period closes on Friday, February 27, 2015, at 5 p.m. CST.