FRE 704 V PA Rules Of Evidence

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. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence a mental health expert in a criminal trial can not offer an opinion on the ultimate legal issue of whether the defendant did or did not have a mental state or condition that constitutes an element of the crime charged or of a defense. An opinion is not objectionable just because it embraces an ultimate issue. (704(a)). However, in a criminal case, an expert witness must not state an opinion about whether the defendant did or did not have a mental state or condition that constitutes an element of the crime charged or of a defense.(704(b)). Those matters are for the trier of fact alone. Id. In this criminal case a mental health expert is prepared to offer an opinion on the whether the defendant was insane …show more content…

A mental health expert in a criminal trial may offer an opinion on the ultimate legal issue of whether the defendant did or did not have a mental state or condition that constitutes an element of the crime charged or of a defense PA rules of evidence adopted the FRE 704(A) which states that an opinion is not objectionable just because it embraces an ultimate issue. (704(a)). PA rules of evidence does not adopt FRE 704B. However, PA courts have ruled that expert testimony, which concerns a defendant's mental capacity to form the type of specific intent a conviction for murder of the first degree requires, significantly advance the inquiry as to the presence or absence of an essential element of the crime, resulting in relevant testimony. (Commonwealth v. Walzack). In this criminal case a mental health expert is prepared to offer an opinion on the whether the defendant was insane at the time of the offense. The mental health expert opinion concerns a defendant's mental capacity at the time of the offense, which is likely to show defendant's mental capacity to form the type of specific intent a conviction of the crime. The charges seem to play a role in PA. Therefore, it is likely that the opinion of the mental health’s expert as to whether the defendant was insane at the time of the offense will reveal the defendant's mental capacity to form the type of specific intent a conviction of the

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