Monday, July 3, 2017

NJAC 1:1-15.8 Witnesses; requirements for testifying; testifying by telephone

1:1-15.8 Witnesses; requirements for testifying; testifying by telephone 

   (a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, by statute or by rule establishing a privilege:

1. Every person is qualified to be a witness; and

2. No person has a privilege to refuse to be a witness; and

3. No person is disqualified to testify to any matter; and

4. No person has a privilege to refuse to disclose any matter or to produce any object or writing; and

5. No person has a privilege that another shall not be a witness or shall not disclose any matter or shall not produce any object or writing but the judge presiding at the hearing in a contested case may not testify as a witness.

(b) A person is disqualified to be a witness if the judge finds the proposed witness is incapable of expression concerning the matter so as to be understood by the judge directly or through interpretation by one who can understand the witness, or the proposed witness is manifestly incapable of understanding the duty of a witness to tell the truth. An interpreter is subject to all the provisions of these rules relating to witnesses.

(c) As a prerequisite for the testimony of a witness there must be evidence that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter, or has special experience, training or education, if such is required. Such evidence may be provided by the testimony of the witness. In exceptional circumstances, the judge may receive the testimony of a witness conditionally, subject to evidence of knowledge, experience, training or education being later supplied in the course of the proceedings. Personal knowledge may be obtained through hearsay.

(d) A witness may not testify without taking an oath or affirming to tell the truth under the penalty provided by law. No witness may be barred from testifying because of religion or lack of it.

(e) Testimony of a witness may be presented by telephone or by video conference call, as prescribed by the Director, if, before the hearing begins, the judge finds there is good cause for permitting the witness to testify by telephone or video conference. In determining whether good cause exists, the judge shall consider:

1. Whether all parties consent to the taking of testimony by telephone;

2. Whether credibility is an issue;

3. The significance of the witness' testimony;

4. The reason for the request to take testimony by telephone; and

5. Any other relevant factor.

(f) Testimony of a witness may be given in narrative fashion rather than by question and answer format if the judge permits.


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