Arthur Vanderbilt once stated that "the right to a fair trial in both civil and criminal cases" is "the most fundamental right of all." No matter how just the rules of substantive law may be, the interests of justice might often be thwarted if there were no procedural rules controlling presentation of evidence at trial; and it is with this in mind that certain procedural limitations have been placed upon the introduction of rebuttal evidence. If the plaintiff could withhold certain shreds of evidence or testimony until the last possible moment, the resulting surprise and dramatic effect upon the jury might very easily amount to an advantage for the plaintiff far greater than that merited by the probative value of the evidence so withheld. Since a trial should be an orderly search for truth in aid of administration of justice rather than a battle of wits between counsel, surprise tactics and unfair manipulation of evidence should be guarded against.
Charles J. Burmeister,
Trial — Nature of Rebuttal Evidence Admissible in Nebraska,
33 Neb. L. Rev. 625
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