How Do I Successfully Get the Court to Consider My Evidence?
When presenting your case, you will most likely have documents or other things you want the court to consider before coming to a decision. The court can only consider these documents or other items that support your claim if you successfully admit them into evidence. To do so, you must comply with the Colorado Rules of Evidence. The purpose of these rules is to ensure fairness to the end of “ascertaining the truth and securing a just determination.”
In very broad terms, for any piece of evidence presented for consideration, you must lay a proper foundation so the court can determine it is both authentic and relevant to your case. In general, to authenticate something, you must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what you claim it to be.
In addition, to prove a piece of evidence is relevant, you must show that:
- A fact is more probable than it would be without the evidence, and
- That fact is of consequence in determining the action.
There are rules of evidence as to each kind of document that you want to admit. For instance, the requirements for the admission of a photo are different from the requirements to admit a text exchange between parties.
To admit a photo into evidence, the witness testifying needs to be able to state that the photograph is a “true and accurate representation” of a relevant fact or situation.
Sample questions and tasks to admit a photo might be:
- Can you identify the exhibit (photo)?
- Are you familiar with the scene shown in the photo?
- How are you familiar with the scene shown in the photos?
- Does the scene portrayed in the photo truly and accurately represent the scene as you remember it on (date)?
- Is this photo a true and accurate depiction of that scene on that date?
Before the court will admit a text message, the witness must be able to state that the printouts of the text message accurately reflect the content of the message. Second, the witness must be able to establish the identity of the sender of the message. Common ways of identifying the sender include asking the witness to describe the following:
- The phone number associated with the message;
- The content of the message;
- The manner of which the sender responded.
Sample questions and tasks to admit a text message may include:
- Have you communicated with opposing party?
- In what ways do you communicate with them?
- Did you receive a text message from the opposing party on (date)?
- Can (witness) turn to the exhibit and identify it?
- Do you recognize that exhibit?
- How do you know that this is a message from the opposing party?
- Does it appear to be a true and accurate representation of the text message you received on (date)?
- Has it been altered in any way?
There are too many rules to explain them all in this short article. Yet, it is important for you to be aware that these rules exist. Having documentation to support your position is not enough; you must convince the court to admit it into evidence to be considered as a part of your case.
Do you have questions about the Rule of Evidence or another legal matter? Call us today at (303) 622-5502 to schedule a consultation.
 Fed Rules of Evidence Rule 102