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ANALYSIS: Depp Witness Exclusion Shows Why a Rule 615 Fix Is Due

July 27, 2022, 3:29 PM

During his recent defamation trial against Amber Heard, Johnny Depp swiftly lost a witness after it was discovered that the witness had viewed clips of other witness testimony from the trial online, which was in violation of the court’s sequestration order.

The abrupt exclusion of Depp’s witness highlights the value in newly proposed amendments to Rule 615 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which aims to prevent fact witnesses from hearing the testimony of other witnesses. The Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence has proposed amendments to expand the scope of Rule 615 and allow courts to sequester witnesses ...