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Rule 601. General Rule of Competency
Every person is competent to be a witness
except as otherwise provided in these rules. However, in civil actions and
proceedings, with respect to an element of a claim or defense as to which State
law supplies the rule of decision, the competency of a witness shall be
determined in accordance with State law.
Rule 602. Lack of Personal Knowledge
A witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is
introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal
knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may, but need not,
consist of the witness' own testimony. This rule is subject to the provisions of rule 703,
relating to opinion testimony by expert witnesses.
Rule 603. Oath or Affirmation
Before testifying, every witness shall be required to
declare that the witness will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation
administered in a form calculated to awaken the witness' conscience and impress
the witness' mind with the duty to do so.
Rule 604. Interpreters
An interpreter is subject to the
provisions of these rules relating to qualification as an expert and the
administration of an oath or affirmation to make a true translation.
Rule 605. Competency of Judge as Witness
The judge presiding at the trial may not
testify in that trial as a witness. No objection need be made in order to
preserve the point.
Rule 606. Competency of Juror as Witness
(a) At the trial.
A member of the jury may not testify as a witness before that jury in the trial of the case in which the juror is sitting. If the juror is called so to testify, the opposing party shall be afforded an opportunity to object out of the presence of the jury.
(b) Inquiry into validity of verdict or indictment.
Upon an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment, a juror may not testify as to any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury's deliberations or to the effect of anything upon that or any other juror's mind or emotions as influencing the juror to assent to or dissent from the verdict or indictment or concerning the juror's mental processes in connection therewith. But a juror may testify about (1) whether extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury's attention, (2) whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror, or (3) whether there was a mistake in entering the verdict onto the verdict form. A juror's affidavit or evidence of any statement by the juror may not be received on a matter about which the juror would be precluded from testifying.
Rule 607. Who May Impeach
The credibility of a witness may be attacked
by any party, including the party calling the witness.
Rule 608. Evidence of Character and Conduct of Witness
(a) Opinion and reputation evidence of character.
The credibility of a witness may be attacked
or supported by evidence in the form of opinion or reputation, but subject to
(1) the evidence may refer only to
character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, and
(2) evidence of truthful character is
admissible only after the character of the witness for truthfulness has been
attacked by opinion or reputation evidence or otherwise.
(b) Specific instances of conduct.
Specific instances of the conduct of a witness, for the
purpose of attacking or supporting the witness' character for truthfulness, other than
conviction of crime as provided in rule 609, may not
be proved by extrinsic evidence. They may, however, in the discretion of the
court, if probative of truthfulness or untruthfulness, be inquired into on
cross-examination of the witness (1) concerning the witness' character for
truthfulness or untruthfulness, or (2) concerning the character for truthfulness
or untruthfulness of another witness as to which character the witness being
cross-examined has testified.
The giving of testimony, whether by an
accused or by any other witness, does not operate as a waiver of the accused's
or the witness' privilege against self-incrimination when examined with respect
to matters which relate only to character for truthfulness.
Rule 609. Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of Crime
(a) General rule.
For the purpose of attacking the character for truthfulness of a witness,
- evidence that a witness other than an accused has been
convicted of a crime shall be admitted, subject to Rule 403,
if the crime was punishable by death or imprisonment in
excess of one year under the law under which the witness was convicted, and
evidence that an accused has been convicted of such a crime shall be
admitted if the court determines that the probative value of admitting this
evidence outweighs its prejudicial effect to the accused; and
evidence that any witness has been
convicted of a crime shall be admitted regardless of the punishment, if it readily can be determined that establishing the elements of the crime required proof or admission of an act of dishonesty or false statement by the witness.
(b) Time limit.
Evidence of a conviction under this rule is
not admissible if a period of more than ten years has elapsed since the date of
the conviction or of the release of the witness from the confinement imposed for
that conviction, whichever is the later date, unless the court determines, in
the interests of justice, that the probative value of the conviction supported
by specific facts and circumstances substantially outweighs its prejudicial
effect. However, evidence of a conviction more than 10 years old as calculated
herein, is not admissible unless the proponent gives to the adverse party
sufficient advance written notice of intent to use such evidence to provide the
adverse party with a fair opportunity to contest the use of such evidence.
(c) Effect of pardon, annulment, or certificate of
Evidence of a conviction is not admissible under this rule if
(1) the conviction has been the subject
of a pardon, annulment, certificate of rehabilitation, or other equivalent
procedure based on a finding of the rehabilitation of the person convicted, and
that person has not been convicted of a subsequent crime which was punishable by
death or imprisonment in excess of one year, or
(2) the conviction has
been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent procedure based on
a finding of innocence.
(d) Juvenile adjudications.
Evidence of juvenile adjudications is
generally not admissible under this rule. The court may, however, in a criminal
case allow evidence of a juvenile adjudication of a witness other than the
accused if conviction of the offense would be admissible to attack the
credibility of an adult and the court is satisfied that admission in evidence is
necessary for a fair determination of the issue of guilt or innocence.
(e) Pendency of appeal.
The pendency of an appeal therefrom does not render
evidence of a conviction inadmissible. Evidence of the pendency of an appeal is
Rule 610. Religious Beliefs or Opinions
Evidence of the beliefs or
opinions of a witness on matters of religion is not admissible for the purpose
of showing that by reason of their nature the witness' credibility is impaired
Rule 611. Mode and Order of Interrogation and Presentation
(a) Control by court.
The court shall exercise reasonable control over the mode
and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence so as to
- make the interrogation and presentation effective for the
ascertainment of the truth,
- avoid needless consumption of time, and
- protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment.
(b) Scope of cross-examination.
Cross-examination should be
limited to the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting
the credibility of the witness. The court may, in the exercise of discretion,
permit inquiry into additional matters as if on direct examination.
(c) Leading questions.
Leading questions should not be used on the
direct examination of a witness except as may be necessary to develop the
witness' testimony. Ordinarily leading questions should be permitted on
cross-examination. When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a
witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading
Rule 612. Writing Used to Refresh Memory
Except as otherwise provided in criminal proceedings by section 3500
of title 18, United States Code, if a witness uses a writing to refresh memory for the
purpose of testifying, either--
- while testifying, or
- before testifying, if the court in its discretion determines it is
necessary in the interests of justice,
an adverse party is entitled to have the
writing produced at the hearing, to inspect it, to cross-examine the witness
thereon, and to introduce in evidence those portions which relate to the
testimony of the witness. If it is claimed that the writing contains matters not
related to the subject matter of the testimony the court shall examine the
writing in camera, excise any portions not so related, and order delivery of the
remainder to the party entitled thereto. Any portion withheld over objections
shall be preserved and made available to the appellate court in the event of an
appeal. If a writing is not produced or delivered pursuant to order under this
rule, the court shall make any order justice requires, except that in criminal
cases when the prosecution elects not to comply, the order shall be one striking
the testimony or, if the court in its discretion determines that the interests
of justice so require, declaring a mistrial.
Rule 613. Prior Statements of Witnesses
(a) Examining witness concerning prior statement.
In examining a witness concerning a prior
statement made by the witness, whether written or not, the statement need not be
shown nor its contents disclosed to the witness at that time, but on request the
same shall be shown or disclosed to opposing counsel.
(b) Extrinsic evidence of prior inconsistent statement of
Extrinsic evidence of a prior inconsistent statement by a
witness is not admissible unless the witness is afforded an opportunity to
explain or deny the same and the opposite party is afforded an opportunity to
interrogate the witness thereon, or the interests of justice otherwise require.
This provision does not apply to admissions of a party-opponent as defined in rule 801(d)(2).
Rule 614. Calling and Interrogation of Witnesses by Court
(a) Calling by court.
The court may, on its own motion or at the suggestion of a
party, call witnesses, and all parties are entitled to cross-examine witnesses
(b) Interrogation by court.
The court may interrogate witnesses, whether called by itself or by a
Objections to the calling of witnesses by the
court or to interrogation by it may be made at the time or at the next available
opportunity when the jury is not present.
Rule 615. Exclusion of Witnesses
At the request of a party the court shall order witnesses
excluded so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses, and it may
make the order of its own motion. This rule does not authorize exclusion of
- a party who is a natural person, or
- an officer or employee of a party which is not a natural person
designated as its representative by its attorney, or
- a person whose presence is shown by a party to be essential to the
presentation of the party's cause, or
- a person authorized by statute to be present.
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