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Reforming Evidence Law in Oregon

NCJ Number
Oregon Law Review Volume: 59 Issue: 1 Dated: (1980) Pages: 43-123
L C Kirkpatrick
Date Published
81 pages
Ten substantive articles of Oregon's evidence code, drafted by the Oregon Advisory Committee on Evidence Law Revision for presentation to the State legislature, are discussed with emphasis on the rules that would change existing practice.
Oregon's evidence code has never received a comprehensive legislative review or modification and now ranks among the oldest of all State evidence codes. The changes proposed herein will update, clarify, and complete the code. Subjects considered include general provisions, judicial notice, presumptions, relevancy, privileges, witnesses, opinions and expert testimony, hearsay, authentication and identification, and contents of writings, recordings, and photographs. The proposed evidence code would not effect a radical transformation of existing practice. Most rules codify existing law, and the changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Generally, the code would expand the admissibility of evidence, placing greater confidence in the jury, although retaining needed protections against unreliable, misleading, or unduly prejudicial evidence. It would repeal some of the unnecessary technicalities, eliminate ambiguities, and revise a number of evidentiary rules, particularly in the areas of competency, impeachment, and privilege. For example, the stenographer-employer privilege would be eliminated, as this privilege could be a significant impediment to investigations of fraudulent or unlawful business activity. The proposed code should go even further to correct deficiencies in current law. Footnotes are included. (Author abstract modified)


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