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In its 2020 term, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued several important and precedential opinions on a number of evidentiary topics. For example, in four published opinions, the court considered whether certain evidence was “testimonial” to determine whether its admission would implicate the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause. The court also addressed whether a defendant on federal supervised release faces a “classic penalty situation,” thereby deeming any confession compelled in violation of the Fifth Amendment, when a probation officer asks him to answer questions that would reveal he had committed new crimes.

The Eleventh Circuit additionally issued several opinions concerning lay witness and expert testimony. In five published opinions, the court affirmed the district courts’ categorization of testimony as admissible under Rule 7014 as lay witness testimony. Regarding the admissibility of expert opinions, the court in three cases followed its trend of deferring to the district courts on the use or exclusion of expert testimony, affirming all three in published opinions.

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