My Holiday Card to Readers

I am always early in getting my holiday cards out. I like to write these cards contemporaneously with my Fall Semester exams, as this year’s card should make obvious. I’ll post last year’s card a little later . . .


Final Examination

Professor Graham

Holiday 2012 Semester

PROFESSOR’S INSTRUCTIONS:                                                              

  1. You have one hour to complete the exam, which consists of a single question.
  2. This is a closed-book exam.
  3. Assume that the facts as given are true.
  4. Good luck!

Question One

The flagship Macy’s department store on 34th Street in Manhattan has hired one Kris Kringle to serve as its resident Santa Claus for the 2010 Holiday Season.  Kris truly believes that he is the one and only Santa Claus, and throughout the holiday season, he makes several statements to this effect to Macy’s customers.

Concerned, Macy’s orders a mental-health evaluation of Kris.  This evaluation leads to commitment proceedings in the New York Supreme Court.

In the ensuing proceedings:

  • When asked if he believes that he is Santa Claus, Kris responds, “Of course.”
  • Asked if he believes that Kris is Santa Claus, Mr. R.H. Macy (owner of the department store that bears his name) testifies, “I do.”
  • When the district attorney’s son, Thomas, is asked on the stand “what [Santa Claus] looks like,” he points toward and identifies Kris, sitting in the courtroom. Thomas also testifies that his father told him that Santa Claus was real – adding, “My daddy would never tell a lie.”
  • Finally, 50,003 letters, all addressed to “Santa Claus,” are delivered to Kris in the courtroom by postal employees in the regular course of their duties.

Also, the events related above caused some scales to topple onto a woman standing at a train station in Brooklyn.

Assume all appropriate objections were made, and in a timely manner; assume further that the Federal Rules of Evidence apply.  Identify and evaluate the evidentiary issues implicated by the foregoing facts, taking care to consider, inter alia:

1)      The admissibility of Mr. Macy’s opinion that Kris is Santa Claus;

2)      The admissibility of Thomas’s identification of Kris as Santa Claus;

3)      Whether Thomas’s testimony regarding what his father told him represents inadmissible hearsay;

4)      Whether the employment consequences of a prospective ruling represent a proper subject for judicial notice; and

5)      What steps, if any, would be required to properly authenticate the letters addressed to Santa Claus as a prerequisite to their admission into evidence.

Happy Holidays!

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