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Article

Comments

Some Observations on the Law of Evidence -- The Competency of Witnesses (with Robert M. Hutchins), 37 Yale Law Journal 1017 (1928)

Abstract

Courts of last resort now seldom reverse a ruling on the competency of witnesses.' Convinced, and rightly so, that they can-not learn from the record all the circumstances which influenced the decision below, they usually let it stand, even when the transcript alone might suggest another conclusion. Trial courts, in their turn, to a greater extent than formerly prefer to admit the evidence of infants, insane people, and mental defectives, and leave the jury to estimate its value. Perhaps this is because exclusion has heretofore worked particular hardship in prosecut-ions for crimes against children and the insane, where the only evidence available was that of the victim. Now these aggrieved individuals may testify even when the gist of the action, as in statutory rape, or the title of the action, as where a "lunatic" sues by his next friend, indicates their infirmity. The infirmity alone does not render them incompetent.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1928

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