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Bautista vs.

Aparece
51 O.G. 805 (1995)
Relevance
FACTS:

As owner of the lot subject of the case, Nicolas Anasco sold the same to Valentin Justiniani. In the
same year, Valentin sold this property to Claudio Justiniani, In October 12, 1935, Claudio Justiniani
executed a public instrument whereby he sold the same property for P100 to Apolonio Aparece in whose
name it was assessed since 1935. While Aparece was in possession, Hermogenes Bautista illegally entered
a part of the land and took possession thereof. Thus, Aparece file a complaint with the guerilla forces
then operating in the province of Bohol. When the case was called for hearing, and after inspection was
made by a guerilla officer, Bautista executed a public instrument wherein he promised to return the land
to Aparece in good will, and recognized Aparece’s lawful ownership over the land. Thus, possession of the
land was restored to Aparece.

However, claiming that the property belongs to him, and alleging that with the aid of armed men
and pretending to be owner, usurped the land, Bautista filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance
(CFI) of Bohol. The CFI rendered judgment declaring Aparece as owner of the land.

On appeal, Bautista raised as defense the error of the trial court in admitting the public instrument
which he executed as evidence. He argued that the document was executed under duress, violence, and
intimidation, and that the guerilla officer before whom it was executed, had no jurisdiction over the
matter.

ISSUE(S):

Whether or not the trial court erred in admitting as evidence, a public document executed before
an officer who had no jurisdiction over the matter.

RULING:

This argument is beside the point. The test for the admissibility or inadmissibility of a certain
document is whether or not it is relevant, material or competent. The public document is not only relevant,
but is also material and competent to the issue of ownership between the parties litigants. Relevant
evidence is one that has any value in reason as tending to prove any matter probable in ac action. And
evidence is said to be material when it is directed to prove a fact in issue as determined by the rules of
substantive law and pleadings, while competent evidence is one that s not excluded by law in a particular
case.

With these criteria in mind, we hold that the mere fact that the public document was executed
before a guerilla officer does not make the same as irrelevant, immaterial or incompetent to the main
issue raised in the pleadings. The public document, considered together with the other evidence,
documentary and oral, satisfies the Court that the portions of land in question really belong to defendant
Aparece.
Lopez vs. Heesen
365 P.2d 448 (1961)
Relevance

FACTS:

Appellee Heesen, an air Force officer, purchased a J.C. Higgins Model 51 30.06 rifle from the store
of appellee Sears. The rifle has a bolt action known as a “Mausser type action” with a “Class 1” safety
mechanism. At the time of the purchase, Heesen was given an instruction pamphlet which he read,
explaining the composition of the rifle and gave operating instructions, including the method to be
pursued to make the gun “safe”.

Immediately after the purchase, Heesen left for a deer hunting trip in an area known as Ute Park.
He placed a live cartridge in the chamber and placed the gun on safety position. He traveled a good deal
during the hours before the shooting and on one of two occasions, he discovered the gun off safety
position. This occurred when he had come down a long hill covered with rocks and boulders. Heesen was
not aware that the rifle moved from “safe to fire’ position at least twice before the shooting. Ten minutes
before the accident began, he left the knoll and he was carrying the gun on his shoulder.

He later heard a rustle and saw a deer go between some trees. When he followed the deer, his
left foot went down hard on the ground on one side of a log and his right foot slipped on the grass. This
brought the rifle down and the rifle discharged, the bullet hitting appellant Lopez, who was nearby.

Lopez brought suit against Heesen for allegedly unlawfully assaulting him, thereby inflicting
dangerous and painful wounds. He also included as party-defendant, the designer, manufacturer and
seller of the rifle, Sears, for allegedly negligently designing and manufacturing the rifle bought by Heesen.

Defendants presented expert testimony on the general reputation of other firearms companies
who use the same modified leaf safety device as the Higgins Model 51. Lopez objected to this evidence
on the ground that it was wholly immaterial and irrelevant to any issue in the case. He likewise objected
on the introduction of testimony on the “poundage pressure” required to move the safety levers from
safe to fire position on the ground of irrelevance and immateriality. Lastly, he objected to the introduction
of opinion evidence regarding the design of the safety mechanism, on the ground that it was a subject
which is within the province of the jury to determine.

ISSUE(S):

(1) Whether or not expert testimony on the general reputation of other firearms companies using
the same safety device is material and relevant.
(2) Whether or not testimony on the “poundage pressure” required is relevant and material.
(3) Whether or not the design of the safety mechanism was a proper subject of expert testimony.

RULING:
(1) The expert testimony is admissible. The allegations on the ultimate facts in issue involve whether
the Higgins Model 51 rifle was in a dangerous and defective condition due to its negligent
manufacture, in that the safety mechanism moved re4adily from “safe” to “fire” position. This is
an issue, the proper understanding of which, requires knowledge or experience and cannot be
determined independently merely from deductions made and inferences drawn on the basis of
ordinary knowledge. Moreover, the conduct of others is proper evidence for a jury to consider,
in determining whether the tendency of the thing is dangerous, defective, or the reverse.
Considering these principles, the Court held that the testimony as to the reputation of other
firearms companies using the same safety device is material and relevant to the issue of whether
the safety device on the Higgins Model 51 was unsafe or safe, and that the trial court did not
abuse its discretion in admitting this testimony.

(2) The testimony was introduced under Lopez’s contention that the Higgins model was unsafe and
thus, the issue arose as to the “poundage pressure’ required to move the safety lever from safe
to fire. It was then proper for Sears to show the amount of pressure required to move the safety
lever as this was relevant to the issue posed.

(3) Expert testimony is admissible because the expert testimony was upon the ultimate issue of
whether or not the safety device was dangerous and defective. It was the proper subject of expert
testimony. It does not usurp the functions of the jury as the latter may still reject these opinions.
Said opinion evidence is not binding on the jury.
State vs Ball
339 S.w2d 783 (1960)
Relevance

FACTS:

Ball appeals from an order of the trial court, convicting him of robbery.

At about 2:30 in the afternoon, two colored men, one of them tall and the other short, entered
the Krekeler Jewelry Store. As the taller man looked at jewelry and made his purchase, the shorter man
looked in the cases and moved about in the store. Later in the same day, at around 5:30 p.m., as John
Krekeler was placing the rings and watches in the safe preparing for the closing of the store, the two men
who had been in the store at 2:30, entered the store. They were immediately recognized by Krekeler,
especially the taller man’s narrow-brimmed tall hat, brown jacket, gray short and particularly a scar on his
face.

The shorter man walked behind the counter and as Krekeler tried to intercept him, the man hit
Krekeler on the face using a 0.38 long barreled pistol. With the gun on his back, the two men directed
Krekeler to go to the watch repair department, then to the restroom, where he was positioned, facing the
wall. Thereafter, he could hear jewelry being dumped in a bag, and the “jingle” of the car register. After
hearing the door slam, Krekeler call the police. He reported that the two men took $4,455.21 worth of
watched and rings, and $140 in cash.

Three weeks later, Ball was arrested by Officers Powell and Ballard while walking in the street.
Ball shoved Officer Powell over and ran down the avenue. The officers ran after him and he was only
pacified when the Officer’s fired a bullet which fell in his back. Ball claims that this evidence of “flight”
was not material or relevant, since it was too remote from the date of the robbery (3 weeks later), to
indicate a consciousness of guilt. Ball likewise objected to the admissibility of the following articles found
in his person during the arrest on grounds of immateriality and irrelevance: a brown felt hat, a brownish
windbreaker type jacket, trousers, gray shirt and shoes, and $258.02 in currency and two pennies.

ISSUES(S)

(1) Whether or not the evidence of flight is inadmissible for reason of remoteness to the time of the
commission of the crime.
(2) Whether or not the articles found in the person of the accused at the time of his arrest are
inadmissible for being irrelevant and immaterial.

RULING:

(1) Unexplained flight and resisting arrest even thirty days after the supposed commission of the
crime is a relevant circumstance. The remoteness of the flight goes to the weight of the evidence
rather than to its admissibility.
(2) In identifying Ball, Krekeler was impressed with and remembered the brown ensemble,
particularly the tall brown hat. These items were of course relevant and admissible in evidence
and there is no objection to them.
However, the money is inadmissible. The proof of the money here was evidently on the theory that Ball
did not have or was not likely to have such a sum of money on his person prior to the commission of the
offense. However, Krekeler was not able to identify the money or any of the items on Ball’s person as
having come from the jewelry store so that in fact, they were not admissible in evidence. There was no
proof as to the denomination of the money in the cash register, it was simply a total of $140. Here,
nineteen days had elapsed, there was no proof that Ball had suddenly come into possession of the
$258.02 and in all these circumstances “the mere possession of a quantity of money is in itself no
indication that the possessor was the taker of the money charged as taken, because in general all money
of the same denomination and material is alike, and the hypothesis that the money found is the same as
the money taken is too forced and extraordinary to be receivable.”

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