Quiz I - Witness and Competency

1. A mentally ill person is not competent to testify.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

2. A juror in the case is not competent to testify.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

3. In a criminal proceeding brought in federal court, state laws determine competency

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

4. Hypnotizing a witness to help that witness recall past events may render that witness incompetent to testify under state law.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

5. A witness is incompetent to testify about matters of which he or she has no personal knowledge.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

6. To be a competent witness, the witness must have personal knowledge of the matter to which he is going to testify, except an expert, who can testify to an opinion based on information supplied either before the testimony or at the time of the expert's testimony.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

7. A party in the lawsuit may not impeach his own witness.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

8. Under common law, many types of people (e.g. atheists, infants, felons)could not be witnesses

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

9. The general rule of evidence regarding competency of a witness does not exclude a witness unless excepted by other rules of evidence or by statute.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

10. The Federal Court will not defer to a state statute regarding whether a witness is competent to testify.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

11. Under the Rules of Evidence, a person who has a felony conviction cannot testify.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

12. The lack of a religious belief is a basis for excluding a witness.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

13. A child under 10 years of age who is not able to explain the meaning of the word "oath" must be excluded as a witness in a civil case.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

14. After a trial is over, the attorneys in the case may subpoena the jurors to a hearing to testify about what the jurors were feeling as they were deciding the case.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

15. It is not permissible for the jurors, during deliberations, to consult law books which they take into the deliberation room without the judge's permission.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

16. If the judge presiding over the trial decides to testify, the parties must object immediately, otherwise the issue is not preserved for appeal purposes.

Select one:

TRUE.

FALSE.

17. In a lawsuit governed under the old common law rules of evidence (long before the Federal Rules of Evidence were even considered), Plaintiff sued Defendant fencer for failing to install a fence as agreed. The Plaintiff wants to call as witness the following people: the defendant, the plaintiff's wife, the plaintiff's six year old daughter, the pastor of the community, the shopkeeper who knows fencing material but did not sell material to either of these parties, the community's one atheist, the neighbor who watched the installation of the fence, the neighbor's adult brother who had a felony conviction. The judge would rule which of the following competent witnesses.

(a) Plaintiff's wife, plaintiff's daughter, the pastor.

(b) The atheist, the neighbor's adult brother, the neighbor.

(c) The shopkeeper, the defendant, the neighbor.

(d) The pastor, the shopkeeper, the neighbor.

18. Which of the above named people would be competent to testify at the same plaintiff's trial if the Federal Rules of Evidence applied.

(a) Only the neighbor, the plaintiff and the shopkeeper.

(b) Only the neighbor, the plaintiff and the plaintiff's wife.

(c) All of the witnesses.

(d) All of the witnesses except the felon.

19. If the plaintiff above wanted to litigate the lawsuit against the fencer in Federal Court, which of the following would be necessary:

(a) The parties must be from different states and it must be a case in which the state law governs the competency of witnesses.

(b) The parties must be from different states, and the amount of damages the plaintiff has incurred must be over $50,000.

(c) The parties must be from different states, and the law applying to breach of contracts must be governed by the state.

(d) The parties need not be from different states but the law governing the breach of contracts must be unclear.

20. In a personal injury trial involving a car which exploded after a minor collision, a hearing was held to determine whether Jessie, a seven-year-old, was competent to testify. The judge questioned Jessie as to whether she could see, hear, and relate accurately the events in question. Which of the following responses would render Jessie incompetent to testify about the source and extent of a lady's injuries.

(a) I heard the lady scream just after the loud boom.

(b) I could smell smoke just after the boom occurred.

(c) I saw the lady bleeding after I heard the boom.

(d) I heard Johnnie tell me that a bomb exploded in the lady's car.

21. The Judge, in ascertaining whether Jessie is competent to testify, asks Jessie questions about whether she understands what the truth is, and what an oath is. Which response would be likely to render Jessie incompetent to testify?

(a) I don't know what the word 'oath' means.

(b) Yes, your robe is pink.

(c) I don't know what the word 'affirmation' means.

(d) Mommy spanks me when I tell her something that didn't really happen.

22. Police officers set up surveillance in a desolate area near the border between the United States and Mexico. They observed three people cross the border carrying backpacks. When the officers questioned the people, it was obvious because of the odor, that the backpacks contained marijuana. During the trial, the defense attorney attempted to discredit the officers with questions about their ability to see the defendants. The judge interjected, "Get on with it counsel, everyone knows that area is wide open without any obstructions." The defense attorney should:

(a) Object immediately.

(b) Object at the next opportune time out of the jury's presence.

(c) Object and ask the judge to retract the statement.

(d) Ask for a mistrial, because the judge has broken the law.

23. In question where about the backpacks and marijuana, and the judge's comments herein, what must the prosecutor do to protect the government's interests should there be a conviction and a subsequent appeal of the conviction:

(a) Nothing.

(b) Object.

(c) Object at the next opportune time out of the jury's presence.

(d) File a written motion for a mistrial.

24. The bailiff in the above marijuana trial had participated in the voir dire by handling the microphone to the potential jurors when they answered the judge's questions. The bailiff also escorted the jurors to their juror room while the trial was recessed. The bailiff was from the desolate area where the defendant's were arrested, so the defense attorney called the bailiff to testify about one very old tree in the area. The defendant's were convicted. On appeal the appellate court would likely:

(a) Affirm the conviction.

(b) Affirm the conviction providing the judge had made the appropriate ruling that the bailiff was competent to testify.

(c) Reverse the conviction because the bailiff had participated in the selection and care of the jurors.

(d) Reverse the conviction because the judge should have ruled the bailiff incompetent to testify.

25. During the deliberations in the above marijuana trial, one of the jurors said "you, know, the bailiff really acts like the defendants are guilty. I think we should convict them." After the jurors return guilty verdicts, the defense wants to hold a hearing because he suspects that they were improperly influenced during their deliberations. The defense attorney during the hearing questions one of the jurors about what was said during the deliberations. The prosecution objects. The judge should:

(a) Sustain the objection because the defense is not entitled to determine
whether the jurors were improperly influenced.

(b) Sustain the objection because the juror is generally not permitted to testify about any statement made during the deliberations.

(c) Overrule the objection because the defense is entitled to know everything that went on during jury deliberations, so it can independently determine whether the jurors were improperly influenced by a statement made during the deliberations.

(d) Overrule the objection because the defense is entitled to know what the jurors were thinking

26. During the deliberation in the above marijuana case, one of the jurors brought a map from home to assist in the jurors deliberations. The defense requests a hearing to determine whether the jurors were improperly influenced and during the hearing asks whether the jurors considered anything in addition to the testimony in reaching their verdict. The prosecution objects. The judge should:

(a) Sustain the objection because the defense is not entitled to inquire about whether the jurors considered anything other than the testimony at trial.

(b) Sustain the objection because no one is entitled to inquire about anything involved in the juror deliberation process.

(c) Overrule the objection because either party is entitled to inquire about everything that went on during the deliberation process.

(d) Overrule the objection because either party is entitled to inquire whether the jurors considered anything other than evidence presented at trial in reaching the verdict.

27. The judge in a murder case noted in the presence of the jury that he had read about the victim's family and was overwhelmed at the suffering they had had to endure. The judge's comments were:

(a) Admissible evidence since they were based on his personal knowledge.

(b) Admissible evidence because they were based on admissible hearsay.

(c) Inadmissible evidence because they were not based on the judge's personal knowledge.

(d) Inadmissible evidence and grounds for mistrial, since a judge in the case is incompetent to give testimony

28. In a trial for arson, the prosecution attempted to show that the accused had a political motive to burn down the Democratic headquarters. The prosecution introduced several witnesses who believed the defendant to be a staunch Republican, however none of these witnesses had spoken directly to the Defendant about his political beliefs. They had heard about those beliefs, however, which were widely discussed in the otherwise liberal community. The defense's strongest objection to the testimony of these witnesses would be:

(a) The witnesses, although technically testifying as to character, were actually incompetent to testify about the defendant's political beliefs, of which they had no personal knowledge.

(b) The witnesses were basing their testimony on character evidence, which is inadmissible to prove guilt.

(c) The witnesses were biased as democrats, and therefore lacked sufficient objective credibility to offer competent testimony against the accused.

(d) The witnesses were mentally incompetent to testify.

29. A witness called to testify in a civil case refused to place her hand on the bible, or to swear to tell the truth. This witness is:

(a) In contempt of court.

(b) Incompetent to testify because she cannot discern truth from a lie.

(c) Legally allowed to affirm the truthfulness of her testimony without a bible, rather than to swear on the bible, pursuant to FRE 603.

(d) Legally allowed to refuse to testify in a civil proceeding.

30. During the trial, one of the jurors formed the conclusion that the defendant was guilty because she did not like his facial expressions. In deliberations, she did not consider any of the problems in the case discussed by the other jurors, but simply and consistently voted guilty. Ultimately, in order to get deliberations completed, and because the other jurors thought the defendant was probably guilty, they all voted to convict. The likely outcome on a motion for a new trial is:

(a) The motion will be granted because the defendant was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

(b) The motion will be granted because the juror who didn't like the defendant's facial expressions unfairly influenced the outcome of the case.

(c) The motion will be denied because evidence of the state of mind of any of the jurors is not admissible, and therefore the court cannot consider the problems in this case.

(d) The motion will be denied because the jurors were subject to outside influence.

- End of test. -