Relevance - Definition
Evidence having any tendency to
make the existence of an important fact more probable or less probable
• Relates to or bears directly on a disputed issue
• Not the same as admissible
• Evidence which is necessary to decide issue or
• Significantly affects proof of the issue
Relevance- Basic Rule
• All relevant evidence is admissible.
Consciousness of Guilt
• Flight, concealment, false name?
• Escape from jail pending trial?
• Refusing consent to search or refusing to answer questions?
• Opinion of officer that child witness is telling the truth?
• Opinion of officer that child understands?
• Opinion that non english speaking witness appears to understand?
• Common sandwich baggies
• Ordinary mask, wig, and gloves (witness can not identify as the ones used)
• False statements about stolen property RELEVANT
• Death threats against a witness
• Gun ownership by person accused of shooting another
• The judge’s discretion will usually be upheld so each case is decided on its own facts.
Exclusion of Relevant Evidence
• The probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or inflammatory
• The evidence would confuse the issues
• The evidence would mislead the jury
• The evidence will unduly delay the trial, waste time, or be cumulative
• The evidence would unfair and harmfully surprise the other side
Specific Types of Evidence
• Eye Witness ID- Line ups
• Voluntary Intoxication
• Character Witnesses
Pretrial Line Ups
- In Field “Show up”
- Photo Line up
- Live Line up (“Evans” line-up)
• Must not be unduly suggestive
• Must be conducted fairly for both exculpatory and incriminating evidence (Ca- must give “Simmons” admonition.)
In Field “Line-ups” and “Show-ups”
Neil v. Biggers Factors
• Opportunity to view the suspect
• Degree of attention
• Accuracy of the witness’s prior description
• Level of certainty
• Length of time between the crime and the confrontation
U.S. Supreme Court
• Voluntary Intoxication is not a defense to a crime
• It may, in some states (like Ca.), negate specific intent, such as
- Deliberation, or
• RULE: Evidence of bad character is not admissible to show conduct in conformity therewith- “Propensity”.
2 Exceptions for Defendant
• Defendant may introduce evidence of his own good character
• Defendant may introduce evidence of the victim’s bad character
5 Exceptions for Prosecution
• Proof of motive or opportunity
• Proof of specific intent or specific knowledge
• Part of a larger plan or scheme
• Identity of the perpetrator or “MO”
• Absence of mistake or accident