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Survey Article


Although the 2010 term of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit had its share of controversial cases, the court's evidentiary rulings were few in number and moderate in scope. As it has in recent years, the court relied heavily on unpublished decisions to resolve cases without creating binding precedent; thus there were no major alterations to the law of evidence requiring practitioners to run to the nearest volume of the Federal Reporter. As explained in previous iterations of this Survey, the court cautions that its "[u]npublished opinions are not considered binding precedent." As a result,

The court generally does not cite to its "unpublished" opinions [although it] may cite to them where they are specifically relevant to determine whether the predicates for res judicata, collateral estoppel, or double jeopardy exist in the case, to ascertain the law of the case, or to establish the procedural history or facts of the case.

The court did, however, continue to refine its treatment of character evidence, the Confrontation Clause, and the reliability prong of the Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. three-part test for admitting expert testimony. This Survey will provide a brief précis on these cases and illustrate the major evidentiary trends in the Eleventh Circuit in 2010.

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