RULE 601. GENERAL RULE OF COMPETENCY
Every person is competent to be a witness except as otherwise provided in these rules.
The essential thought underlying this rule is that, generally, the evaluation of a witness should be made by the trier of fact, through a determination of the weight and credibility of that witness' testimony, rather than by the prior imposition of standards of competency. Thus, there are no standards put forth relating to mental or moral competency in these rules. (Cf. State v. Oliver, 78 N.D. 341, 49 N.W.2d 564 (1951), wherein it was held that competency is to be determined as a matter of law, considering the witness' intelligence, ability to discern truth and falsehood, and recognition of the obligation of his oath.) The trial judge will retain a certain amount of control over the "evaluation" of a witness in his review of the sufficiency of the evidence.
Neither this rule nor any of the rules of this code contain a "Dead Man's" statute. This represents a departure from former North Dakota law. The former "Dead Man's" statute, 31-01-03, NDCC and by reference 31-01-04 and 31-01-05, NDCC, are superseded by adoption of these rules.
SOURCES: Minutes of Joint Procedure Committee: April 8, 1976, page 26. Rule 601, Federal Rules of Evidence; Rule 601, SBAND proposal.
SUPERSEDED: 31-01-01, 31-01-03, 31-01-04, 31-01-05, NDCC.
CROSS REFERENCE: Rule 501, NDREv.