Habit Forming Evidence

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Evidence of habit can be quite useful since it can help fill-in details forgotten by a witness in dealing with routine matters or procedures. This rule of evidence provides:

Rule 406. Habit; Routine Practice
Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eyewitnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.

“Habit evidence is generally defined as [e]vidence of one’s regular response to a repeated specific situation.'” Carlson v. Warren, 878 N.E.2d 844, 850 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 597 (8th ed. 2004)); See also 1 McCormick § 195 (2006). Evidence of habit can be very useful for handling standard procedures used by record keepers, medical personnel, police officers, lab technicians and toxicologists, where they cannot remember a specific item tested due to the volume of items processed. You simply have the witness outline their regular routine or practice in a particular situation to prove that they did so in your particular situation. (e.g. please describe your normal practice or procedure in performing the type of testing you performed here.)

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About Richard A. Cook

Richard Cook graduated from Purdue University in the Economics Honor Program in 1979 and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1982. Following law school, Richard served as a federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. In 1984, Richard began working as Deputy Prosecutor for the Lake County Prosecutor's Office and from there, served as Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. There he handled a number of complex criminal matters and jury trials. While there, Richard received the Chief Postal Inspector's Special Award and a letter of commendation from the U.S. Attorney General for his work prosecuting a major money order fraud scheme being perpetrated out of the Indiana State Prison system. Since leaving the U.S. Attorney's office in 1989, Richard has focused primarily on civil work and is currently a member of the firm Yosha Cook & Tisch in Indianapolis. Richard is also a member of the ITLA, IBA and the ABA, as well as, a fellow for the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Posted on September 12, 2013, in Evidence and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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