Does “Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina” Pass the Relevancy Test?
The Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina, part of the North Carolina Practice Series, contains practical information about the admissibility of evidence, witness testimony, hearsay, authentication, and other overlapping considerations. The target audience of this practice guide is trial attorneys. It is updated annually so that it may continue to comprehensively cover the most important evidentiary topics in North Carolina.
The topics are further divided into subtopics throughout each of the 27 chapters. The subtopics enable a trial attorney to find exactly what he or she is looking for with ease. The Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina is available in print, as well as, electronically on WestlawNext.
To gain access to the practice guide on WestlawNext, first, look under the “All Content” tab on the homepage. Next, click the link for “Secondary Sources.” This will open a new screen, which arranges secondary sources by type, state, and topic. Under the “By State” category, click on the “North Carolina” link. The link accesses secondary sources that pertain to North Carolina. Under the category titled “Texts & Treatises,” click on the link for “North Carolina Texts & Treatises.” The link will access texts and treatises pertaining to North Carolina. On the “North Carolina Texts & Treatises” page, there is a link to the Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina practice guide. Selecting it takes you to its table of contents.
The practice guide has one general index and table of contents. The index highlights ten sections of evidentiary subjects, from abuse of hearings to affidavits. When accessing any of these sections, a trial attorney will find the relevant evidentiary rule, a brief explanation of the rule, as well as, cited case law. If a trial attorney is trying to challenge the admission or exclusion of evidence, the cited case law is helpful in trial preparation. The cited case law also enables a trial attorney to see how another attorney argued an evidentiary rule and how the court ruled on that argument. This helps a trial attorney better prepare his or her case and devise a litigation strategy. So, even though there are no sections in Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina dedicated to forms, practice tips, or step-by-step litigation strategies, the abundant annotations to relevant case law more than compensates.
To test the reliability of the Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina, I decided to do a search on hearsay exceptions. I used the following search string to access the exceptions: hearsay /s except! The search turned up 58 results that address hearsay exceptions. The search results identified each chapter and title and previewed the relevant section from each. Having this information enables a trial attorney to select the appropriate result without having to scavenger hunt for it.
For example, if a trial attorney is trying to get clarification of the rule for “Ancient Documents” under the hearsay exception, the attorney will find the information under § 17.3. Accessing § 17.3 provides a link to the North Carolina evidentiary rule—N.C.R. Evid. 803(16)—that corresponds to the hearsay exception for ancient documents. Also, under the same section, there is a link to N.C.R. Evid. 901(b)(8), which addresses the requirement of authentication or identification (see below).
The practice guide synthesizes the rule related to ancient documents and hearsay and provides case law and statutory authority that supports the rule. The annotations allow a trial attorney to expand his or her research with still more, relevant primary authority binding in North Carolina.
As a future trial attorney in North Carolina, I see Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina becoming an invaluable resource as I tackle evidentiary issues, devise litigation strategies, file motions and submit arguments before the court on behalf of a client. Therefore, I highly recommend this practice guide to trial attorneys in North Carolina because it passes the relevancy test.
~ Shernika Smith, L’16 ~
Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.