Illinois Bar Journal

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Articles on Evidence

All Hail the Illinois Rules of Evidence By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2010 Article, Page 620 On January 1, Illinois finally joins the vast majority of states by codifying its rules of evidence. Here are highlights of the new code.
Non-identical Twins: The Illinois and Federal Rules of Evidence By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness December 2010 Column, Page 642 Important differences between the two limit the persuasive power of federal precedents in Illinois.
At long last, the codified Illinois Rules of Evidence By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2010 LawPulse, Page 558 Effective January 1, Illinois' new evidence code pulls together evidentiary rules heretofore scattered among various cases, statutes and court rules - and makes a few subtle changes.
Family law software: not exempt from the rules of evidence By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2010 LawPulse, Page 394 Make sure you understand how support calculators work before relying on their results, and don't forget to lay a foundation for the report if you seek to enter it into evidence.
Does What Happens on Facebook Stay on Facebook?Discovery, Admissibility, Ethics, and Social Media By Beth C. Boggs and Misty L. Edwards July 2010 Article, Page 366 What are the limits on discovery and admissibility of content gathered on social media sites? This article looks at the emerging case law.
Averett a win for prosecutors By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2010 LawPulse, Page 286 The Illinois high court rules that it isn't reversible error for a trial court to defer ruling on motions in limine to exclude prior convictions unless defendants testify - and that's bad news for defendants who choose not to testify.
Codifying Illinois’s rules of evidence By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2010 LawPulse, Page 230 A supreme court committee's proposed organizational scheme, fashioned after the Federal Rules of Evidence, would pull together Illinois' widely scattered evidence rules.
Prior sexual activity or reputation evidence generally not admissible in civil trials. PA 096-0307 May 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 236 New amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure clarify that evidence to prove a victim's prior sexual behavior or reputation is generally not admissible in a civil trial. 735 ILCS 5/8-2801.
EEOC complaints: sender’s fax confirmation “strong evidence” of receipt By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2010 LawPulse, Page 66 The seventh circuit holds that the fax confirmation generated by the sender's machine is strong evidence the EEOC actually received a complaint at a given time and date.
Experts Cannot Testify About the Law - or Can They? By James W. Springer February 2010 Article, Page 98 In theory, experts may not opine about whether a party's actions were legal. Here's how courts have put that principle into practice.
Admissibility of Government Wiretaps after People v Coleman By David J. Robinson January 2010 Article, Page 44 Coleman created an exception to the Illinois eavesdropping statute for joint state and federal investigations. The author criticizes the case and considers its practical implications.
The Discovery Deposition and Disfavored Evidence By Joanne Hannaway Sweeney and Benjamin J. Wimmer November 2009 Article, Page 576 A recent amendment to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules obscures the purpose of the discovery deposition and the range of its uses
Predictions, Probabilities and the Magic 8-Ball November 2009 Column, Page 585 Despite the best analysis of the best evidence, predicting human behavior is a risky business.
U.S. Supreme Court: Confrontation Clause requires lab analysts to testify By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2009 LawPulse, Page 490 Prosecutors can’t rely on lab reports alone, the Court rules. But ISBA lawyers disagree about how much impact the ruling will have in Illinois.
Strict Liability for Sexual Harassment by Supervisors By Cynthia Hyndman, Robert Margolis, and Aleeza Strubel September 2009 Article, Page 454 The Illinois Supreme Court's Sangamon County Sheriff's Department decision subjects employers to strict liability for sexual harassment by their supervisors. So, who is a supervisor?
The Admissibility of Other Misconduct in Civil Cases By Michael J. Polelle July 2009 Article, Page 364 As a rule, character evidence is inadmissible in civil cases even if proved circumstantially. Here are two exceptions to the rule.
Evidence of careful habits has no bearing for the element of proximate cause July 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 336 On April 29, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County granting summary judgment for the defendants. 
If erroneously admitted evidence does not prejudice the defendant, the error does not require reversal July 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 336 On April 21, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, on defendant's appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, affirmed the conviction of defendant, who was convicted of the unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.
Evidence is insufficient to prove negligence if the conclusion is merely possible June 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 284 On April 1, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Will County which granted summary judgment for the defendants after concluding that no genuine issue of material fact existed to establish negligence on the part of the defendants.
Making evidence meaningful By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2009 LawPulse, Page 278 A veteran lawyer and trial judge tells litigators how to present evidence in a way that engages and wins over jurors.
Sexual harassment and the chain of command By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2009 LawPulse, Page 278 Under state law, employers are liable for sexual harassment by supervisors whether or not the employer knew about it and even though the employee-victim doesn't work under the supervisor.
Victory for defendants in asbestos case By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2009 LawPulse, Page 278 The Illinois Supreme Court allows defendants in asbestos cases to introduce evidence that someone else's negligence was the sole proximate cause of a plaintiff's injuries.
Proving Proximate Cause in Malpractice cases By Terrence J. Lavin and Kristina M. Lau May 2009 Article, Page 254 Illinois courts are still struggling to determine the plaintiff's proper burden of proving proximate cause in "lost chance" cases.
“Rape Shield” for Civil Lawsuits By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2009 LawPulse, Page 220 An Illinois House bill would extend the prohibition against admitting evidence of an alleged victim's sexual history to sexual harassment charges.
A Snipe-Hunter’s guide to Coaxing Answers from Hostile Witnesses By Hon. Ron Spears May 2009 Column, Page 260 Preparation and skillful questioning can help you bag your quarry.
Evidence Resources or Illinois Practitioners By Tom Gaylord March 2009 Column, Page 154 A look at some free evidence-related online resources.
Scientific Evidence About Grief in Illinois Wrongful Death Cases By Timothy J. Reuland and Shirley A. Murphy March 2009 Article, Page 146 A 2007 amendment to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act permits recovery for grief. This article discusses the evidence that makes the case for damages.
Admission of prior juvenile adjudications allowed to February 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 70 On December 2, 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, which affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Peoria County to allow the state to impeach a defendant with certified copies of his prior juvenile adjudications.
Committee studies codification of evidence rules By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2009 LawPulse, Page 64 A new supreme court special committee is charged with devising a more convenient organizational scheme for the Illinois rules of evidence.
New hearsay exception added for the intentional murder of a witness. PA 095-1004 February 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 70 The Illinois General Assembly amended the Code of Criminal Procedure by adding section 115-10.6, which creates a new hearsay exception when evidence is offered against a party that has killed the declarant "intending to procure the unavailability of the declarant as a witness in a criminal or civil proceeding." 725 ILCS 5/115-10.6.