Are You Showing Enough in an Offer of Proof?

When the opposing side objects to your evidence or the judge rules your evidence inadmissible, it’s time to make an offer of proof to encourage the court to admit the evidence or reconsider its ruling. Here’s a handy table illustrating how much of a showing is necessary in an offer of proof. Offers of proof must be specific, setting out the actual evidence to be produced. Focus on the requirements: the substance, purpose, and relevance of excluded evidence. Evid C §354(a). This table compares sufficient and insufficient showings for common issues in an offer of proof: A showing that the evidence is available: Sufficient Showing Insufficient Showing Mrs. Jones is waiting in the hall and is prepared to testify that … We want to put on some evidence that … A specific summary of the substance of the evidence: Sufficient Showing Insufficient Showing Mrs. Jones would testify that she saw Mr. Smith at the scene of the crime. Mrs. Jones would testify…

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