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Constitutional Law

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United States Constitution

2018

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The (Mis)Application Of Rule 404(B) Heuristics, Dora W. Klein Apr 2018

The (Mis)Application Of Rule 404(B) Heuristics, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

In all of the federal circuit courts of appeals, application of Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence has been distorted by judicially-created "tests" that, while intended to assist trial courts in properly admitting or excluding evidence, do not actually test for the kind of evidence prohibited by this rule. Rule 404(b) prohibits evidence of "crimes, wrongs, or other acts" if the purpose for admitting the evidence is to prove action in accordance with a character trait. This evidence is commonly referred to as "propensity" evidence, or "once a drug dealer, always a drug dealer" evidence.

This Article examines …