“relevant” or “irrelevant” when applied to evidence

You have an appointment to meet with the AUSA to continue working on the affidavit supporting the wiretap application. You are told she is still in court and will be back soon. You and a fellow new detective decide to spend the time observing courtroom proceedings. You both notice that the defense counsel frequently interrupts the prosecutor’s examination of a witness by objecting to the testimony as being “irrelevant.” You have heard this objection hundreds of times on television and in the movies but you both just realized you really do not understand exactly what the terms “relevant” or “irrelevant” mean when applied to evidence.

Research the concept of what constitutes relevant evidence. Use Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), as a starting point for exploring this issue, along with other appropriate case law and examples. Send an e-mail to your fellow detective, explaining what you have found out about “relevant” evidence. Your focus should be on the concept of “relevancy,” citing useful case law and examples that you researched.


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