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General Admissibility of Relevant Evidence
· RELEVANT evidence is admissible unless any of the following provides otherwise:
o A federal statute;
o These rules; or
o The US constitution;
o Other rules prescribed by the supreme court
· IRRELEVANT EVIDENCE is NOT admissible
“How does this piece of evidence make an elementin the case more or less probable?”
· ID parties’ legalclaims
· ID the elementsof those claims
· Does the evidence make any of those elements more likely? Or less likely? If so, relevant.
Relevance that depends on a fact
When the relevance of evidence depends onwhether a fact exists, proof must be introduced sufficient to support a findingthat the fact does exist. The court may admit the proposed evidence on thecondition that the proof be introduced later.
Excluding Relevant EV for prej, confusion, waste of time, or other reasons
The court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is SUBSTANTIALLY OUTWEIGHED by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.
- Unfairprejudice (due to emotions)
- Confusingthe issues
- Misleadingthe jury (when jury overvalues something,etc)
- Needlesslypresenting cumulative evidence
2. Determine howmuch probative value the evidence has
3. Compare the prejudice to the probative value
Only when the potential for prejudice STRONGLYOUTWEIGHS probative value
- which favors letting evidence in
· Opinion of someone who knows the D or P
· Evidence of someone’s reputation
· Past acts
· Overestimate it’s probative value
· Justify a condemnation irrespective of guilt
Subject to the imitations in Rule412, a defendant may offer evidenceof an alleged victim’s pertinent trait,and if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutormay:
---offer evidence to rebut it; and---Offer evidence of the defendant’s same trait
- claimingself-defense is generally enough
- alsosatisfied if a witness claims victim was first aggr.
o only in CRIMINAL case
o only in reference to D or P
o only given by certain parties D or P
o only for certain purposes
This is a SPECIAL DISPENSATION for criminal Ds b/c:
- Criminaldefendants have more at stake than other D’s,
So we should give them more weapons with whichto fight
- CriminalD are usually one little, uneducated guy fighting against the government w/ itsenormous financial resources and investigative team
“I know this person, and he’s usually ___”
-Must be reputation in a community
-But W has to be credible such as he lives in D or V’s community long enough to knowtheir reputation
(“Community” = workplace, residential place,)
404(a)(2)(A) -D may offer EV of D’spertinent character traits
If D opens thedoor, Prosec. may offer EV to rebut
D may offer EV ofV’s pertinent character traits
---IF D opens thedoor, Prosec. may offer EV to rebut
---If D opens thedoor, Prosecution may offer EV D has same trait
404(a)(2)(C): If D offers EV thatV was first aggressor, in homicide, Prosec. may offer EV that V waspeaceful
If character EV has been determined to be admissible already(under 404) you still have to do what?
o When EV of a person’s character or charactertrait is admissible, it may be proved by testimony about the person’s reputation or by testimony in the formof an opinion
o On cross exam of the character W, thecourt may allow an inquiry into relevant specific instances of the person’sconduct
o When a person’s character or character trait isan essential element of a charge, claim, or defense, the character or trait mayalso be proved by relevant specific instances of the person’s conduct
Is it relevant?
Is it character EV?
Does it violate Rule 404(a)(1)’s rule that you cannot usecharacter EV to show conduct?
Is it used to prove an essential element of the crime
Seduction. D seduced victim,V was of “chaste character”
Childcustody cases (“unfit parent”)
Defamationcases (When P’s character impugned)
D charged w/ negligent entrustment - D entrusted car to a careless driver, D was neg in entrusting to careless person and as a result, P was injured
· EV of a person’s habit or routine practice maybe admitted to prove that on a particular occasion the person acted inaccordance with that habit. Thecourt may admit this evidence regardless of whether it’s corroborated or therewas an eyewitness
regular response to a repeated specific situation
Semi-automatic response to a particular repeated triggering circumstance
· **It’s about what you do, not whoyou are
· ie. Subway gives a receipt w/ every purchase
· Able to use this as evidence that the org actedthat way in a particular instance
Crimes, Wrongs, or Other Acts
· (1) Prohibited Uses. Evidence of acrime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person’s character inorder to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character
· (2) Permitted Uses: Notice in a Criminal Case. This evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan,knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident. The prosecutor must provide reasonable notice…
must have a preponderance of the evidence (rule 104b) evidence that the past act actually occurred
rule 104b: When the relevance of evidence depends on whether a fact exists, proof must be introduced sufficient to support a finding that the fact does exist. The court may admit the proposed evidence on the condition that the proof be introduced later.
ie, could a 'reasonable jury' find the D did the act?
1. Helpsestablish the identity of awrongdoer
via Opportunity,preparation, motive, plan, MO
NOTE: It must TIE that person to the present wrong andNOT just show they have the character to commit the present wrong
2.Helpsrebut a defendant’s claims about hismental state
Where evidence shows many previous incidents,the likelihood something was an ACCIDENT goes down each time
A person has a distinctive way of committing acrime, a “behavioral fingerprint”
You can introduce the past act as evidencesuggesting person w/ MO if they behavein a certain way and the crime was committed in that way
Similar Crimes in Child Molestation Cases·
(a)Permitted Uses. In a criminal case in which a defendant is accused of child molestation, the court may admit evidence that the defendant committed any other child molestation. The evidence may be considered on any matter to which it is relevant.
· (b)Prosecutor must disclose to Defendant…
· (c)Effect on Other rules. This rule does not limit the admission or consideration of evidence under any other rule
"pedophilia" means they will keep actingthat way
2. Child molestation is anespecially horrible crime (so it’s important to prosecute), and especiallydifficult to prosecute (due to lack of evidence and witnesses, usually only thechild) and children are poor witnesses
- so prosecutor needs extra ammunition in these cases
Similar Crimes in Sexual AssaultCases
· (a)Permitted Uses. In a criminal case in which a defendant is accused of asexual assault the court may admit evidence that the defendant committed anyother sexual assault. The evidence may be considered on any matter to which itis relevant.
(d)definition of “Sexual Assault.” a crime involving:
-any conduct prohibited by 18 USC ch. 109A
-contact,w/o consent, between any part of the defendant’s body – or an object – andanother person’s genitals or anus;
-contact,w/o consent between the D’s genitals or anus and any part ofanother person’s body;
-deriving sexual pleasure or gratification frominflicting death, bodily inj, or phys.pain on another person; or - attempt/conspir. to engage in the above
Similar Acts In Civil CasesInvolving Sexual Assault or Child Molestation
· (a) PermittedUses. In a civil case involving a claim for relief based on a party’salleged sexual assault or child molestation, the court may admit evidence thatthe party committed any other sexual assault or child molestation. The evidencemay be considered as provided in rules 413 and 414
(and b - disclose to D and C - effect on other rules from 414)
Sex-offense Cases: The Victim’sSexual Behavior Or Predisposition (aka Rape Shield Law)
· (a) ProhibitedUses. The following evidence is notadmissible in a civil or criminal proceeding involving alleged sexual misconduct:
o (1) evidence offered to prove that a victimengaged in other sexual behavior; or
o (2) evidence offered to prove a victim’s sexual predisposition
(1) Criminal cases: The crt may admit in a crim case:
(A)evidence of specific instances of avictim’s sexual behavior if offered to prove that someone other than the defendant was the source of semen, injury,or other physical evidence;
(B)evidence of specific instances of avictim’s sexual behavior with respect tothe person accused of the sexual misconduct, if offered by the defendant toprove consent or if offered by the prosecutor; and
(C) EV whose exclusion would violate Ds constit rights
(c)Procedure to Determine Admissibility
(1) Motion. If a party intends to offer such EV the party must (A) file a motion..(B) at least 14 d before trial,(C) serve the motion and (D) notify the victim
(2) Hearing – before admitting evidence underthis rule, the court must conduct an in camera hearing and give the victim andparties a right to attend and be heard. The record must remain sealed unless acourt orders otherwise.
Applies to criminal cases only
Protects criminal defendants only
Gives criminal defendants right toconfront the witnesses against them
This includes the right to cross-examine
Which includes right to inquire into any motive thewitness has to lie
*therefore if the victim testifies against accused, he can x-exam her to find motives for lying, incl.sex hist.
(2)Civil Cases. Ina civil case, the court may admit evidence offered to prove a victim’s sexualbehavior or sexual predisposition if its probative value substantially outweighs the danger of harm to any victim and of unfairprejudice to any party. The court may admit evidence of a victim’s reputationonly if the victim has placed it in controversy.
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