Re: Rule 4.27 (Exhibits)
From email sent by NHSMTC Board Chair Paul Kaufman, sent May 2, 2023:
As you know, Rule 4.27 permits the marking of exhibits in a circumscribed, defined manner. However, because such marks are permanent, it also requires teams to have with them multiple clean copies of exhibits. In addition, over the years, some teams have used plastic “sleeves” for exhibits, most frequently those that fit a three-ring binder for ease of organization and transport, but a minority of presiding judges have viewed doing so as a violation of the rules.
In response to a request from a team, the Rules Committee of the National Board has met, and for purposes of the 2023 National Championship, exhibits may be laminated or placed in sleeves, so long as the exhibits otherwise meet the Rules and, particularly, Rules 4.11 and 4.27 (i.e., they are not enlarged or modified in any way, just laminated or placed in sleeves). Teams may mark on these exhibits using removable marker, so that the markings can be removed after the trial.
Teams who laminate or sleeve exhibits and then mark exhibits should bring adequate markers to provide one to the opposing team, if one is requested. Opposing teams that wish to mark laminated exhibits that have not yet been marked should substitute their own copy, consistent with Rule 4.27. Teams will be responsible for their own markers, lamination, sleeves, etc., and they are responsible for ensuring that the materials they select allow them to remove markings between trials. If markings cannot be removed, teams must use unlaminated/unsleeved copies in future trials.
We received a question regarding procedure regarding expert witnesses. Many states have dispensed with the practice of tendering expert witnesses and only require laying a foundation regarding the witness’s expertise before the witness can render an expert opinion.
In writing our case, however, our plan was to have a case that was as close to Arkansas law as possible. Arkansas procedure still requires the tendering of expert witnesses. As such, it will be expected that anyone that a team deems an “expert” be formally tendered.
Finally, we received two questions related to timekeeping.
Q: Does starting time include or exclude when the attorney says “May in please the court, Your Honor, Opposing Council, Members of the Jury” during Opens and Closes? (referring to #4 under “during the trial”)
A: Time starts on the attorney’s first word. So, that would include any introductory formalities such as “May it Please the Court.”
Q: After an objection is sustained during a direct or cross, does the time begin directly after the presiding judge’s ruling or when the attorney speaks the first word after losing the objection? (Are the attorneys allowed a pause after a sustained objection not in their favor?)
A: Time starts when the attorney continues the examination.