Lay opinion testimony


Law Lessons from State v. Brockington, __ N.J. Super. __ (App. Div. 2015), Docket No. A-2760-11T2, February 18, 2015:

Lay opinion testimony is governed by N.J.R.E. 701, which permits a lay witness’s “testimony in the form of opinions or inferences . . . if it (a) is rationally based on the perception of the witness and (b) will assist in understanding the witness’ testimony or in determining a fact in issue.” Fed. R. Evid. 701 is similar to N.J.R.E. 701 in requiring that lay opinion be rationally based upon the perception of the witness and helpful to the trier of fact. Addressing the first requirement that the opinion be rationally based upon perception, the Second Circuit stated, “a lay opinion must be the product of reasoning processes familiar to the average person in everyday life.” United States v. Garcia, 413 F.3d 201, 215 (2d Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 1154, 128 S. Ct. 1100, 169 L. Ed. 2d 831 (2008).

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