Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Evidence

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.
Subpoena for medical records January 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 On October 31, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, reversed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Logan County denying the state's request for a subpoena duces tecum, seeking release of a defendant's medical records for the day the defendant was charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
Incriminating statements suppressed in first degree murder case December 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 612 On September 30, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of McLean County granting the defendant's two motions to suppress evidence. 
The Crawford Confrontation-Clause Bar: Governmental Involvement Is Key to “Testimonial” Hearsay By Hon. Daniel B. Shanes November 2008 Article, Page 574 The author argues that statements are rarely "testimonial" - and thus barred - if the government did not produce them.
Evidence sufficient to uphold conviction for disorderly conduct November 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 554 On August 20, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County finding the defendant guilty of disorderly conduct. 
Polygraph Exams in Sex-Offense Cases By Kerry J. Bryson October 2008 Article, Page 528 Despite doubts about their reliability, polygraph exams are required in sex-offense cases. This article discusses the law.
Depositions of Gravely Ill Illinois Claimants By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness September 2008 Column, Page 476  A majority in Berry found that while the trial court ruled correctly the system failed.
Fees for Physician Testimony: What’s Reasonable? By Timothy J. Harris September 2008 Article, Page 460 A look at the governing rules, along with common-sense ways lawyers can keep doctors from charging too much for testifying.