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Copyright © 2007, Gerald Bamberger


Silverstone was tried for the murders of five Pleasant Valley College students. The fact that Silverstone had killed the students was uncontested. The defense theory was that Silverstone was insane; he believed that the initials “PVC” were the mark of the devil, and that Pleasant Valley College students were “marked for death.”

Donna, the defense psychiatrist, seeks to testify that after speaking with Silverstone’s parents, classmates, and coworkers about Silverstone’s fear of the letters “P,” “V,” and “C,” she has determined that Silverstone was insane at the time of the killings.

The best reason why Donna’s testimony should not be admitted is that

(a)     it offends the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment, in that Silverstone’s parents, classmates, and coworkers have not been shown to be unavailable, nor have they been subjected to cross-examination
(b)     it goes to the “ultimate issue” in the case
(c)     it is based on the hearsay statements of Silverstone’s parents, classmates, and coworkers, and is therefore improper opinion testimony
(d)     the jury will be unable to weigh Donna’s testimony unless they are permitted to hear the out-of-court statements of Silverstone’s parents, classmates, and coworkers; but these statements are inadmissible hearsay

To see Professor Bamberger explain the answer in detail click here





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