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Trial Exhibits and Motion in Limine

Three Types of Trial Exhibits

In legal understanding, exhibits represent the tangible items that the sides in the trial have to present in order to support their claims and testimonies of the witnesses (McClure and Eimermann 356). There are three types of trial exhibits; they are physical evidence, documentary evidence, and demonstrative evidence.

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The first type of exhibits, physical evidence, stands for the objects of the material nature that are related to the case. Such pieces of evidence may be in the form of a weapon with the help of which the accused individual committed a crime, or an object that contributes to the participation in a criminal activity – stains of blood on one’s clothes, personal items of the victims found at the accused person’s residence, for example.

The second type of exhibits, documentary evidence, refers to legal documents that can be used as proofs that confirm the claims made in court or strengthen the testimonies of the witnesses. The documents that can be characterized as documentary evidence may include such papers as leases, contracts, wills, to name a few. All in all, the documentary type of exhibits represents official legal instruments that are presented in written form.

Finally, the third type of trial exhibits is demonstrative evidence. The evidence of this kind includes a multitude of physical objects. The primary objective of demonstrative evidence is to provide a visual illustration of certain events, actions, phenomena, and tendencies. This type of evidence refers to diagrams, maps, photographs, and x-rays, to name a few. Demonstrative exhibits are particularly important in verbal testimonies that are confusing and may require clarification. The presentation of the demonstrative evidence makes the comprehension of the discussed subject easier and ensures a better understanding of the claims made during the course of the trial or a testimony.

Methods Used to Mark Trial Exhibits

Since there is usually a multitude of pieces of evidence presented at the trial, it is necessary that each item is properly marked. First of all, each exhibit is to be marked according to the side that plans to include it as their evidence. A label with an appropriate name should be placed in the exhibit. Secondly, when there are several pieces of evidence relied on by each party, it is critical that the items are numbered. In that way, an example of a labeled piece of evidence may be the following – a receipt from a restaurant that is presented to confirm the alibi of the defendant is labeled “Defendant exhibit 1” (“Procedure for Marking Exhibits” 1).

The exhibits are selected prior to the beginning of the case. Moreover, in some courts, the parties are required to compile full lists of the exhibits they plan to use during the trial and attach them to the pre-trial memorandum (McClure and Eimermann 356). In that way, both sides are able to see what pieces of evidence each of them would be using. However, in many courts, this procedure is not as formal, and the lists of exhibits prepared by both sides are filed to the court without being shared with one another.

The methods of marking exhibits are various. The paralegals are often the authorities responsible for the organization and marking of the pieces of evidence. The latter can be labeled using markers that are handwritten, typed and printed out, or stamped. Each item is to have its individual mark in order to avoid confusion. Evidence that is comprised of several parts is recognized as group exhibit; an example of such exhibit is a set of different fingerprints found at the crime scene.

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Basic Components of Motion in Limine

According to McClure and Eimermann, motions in limine are the cases where the defense seeks for the ways to exclude the evidence from the trial (364). In particular, motion in limine stands for the request of the defense to withdraw a certain piece of evidence; such withdrawals are usually based on the fact that the evidence is unrelated to the case or was obtained in an unlawful manner. If the request is found reasonable, the evidence may be excluded from the trial and is no longer referred to as proof.

In addition, as well as being a request to exclude a piece of evidence, motion in limine may be directed towards the inclusion of a particular fact or object as evidence which may alter the course of the trial (“Motions in Limine” par. 1).

Motions in limine usually include such basic components as the evidence that needs to be either included or excluded from the trial and a memorandum of law applying to the case that serves to support the request related to the aforementioned piece of evidence or information. However, it is possible for the side directing the request to omit the memorandum and proceed without providing a basis for their requirement. The judge is the one to decide whether or not the motion in limine should be granted. The decision is based on the relationship of the evidence to the case.

Works Cited

McClure, Thomas, and Thomas Eimermann. Fundamentals of Criminal Practice: Law and Procedure. New York, New York: Wolters Kluwer, 2011. Print.

Motions in Limine. 2016. Web.

Procedure for Marking Exhibits. n.d. Web.

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