It’s About Context, Not Character: Admitting Evidence Under R. 404(b)

Webinar Recording

Presented by Jonathan Kurland, AEquitas Attorney Advisor

Proving a crime of intimate partner violence challenges prosecutors to place the criminal act in context of the bigger picture of the relationship and its dynamic of ongoing power and control, with various forms of abuse that may span years or decades. It is important to present the fullest possible picture of the relationship to enable the jury to understand the defendant’s motive and intent to inflict harm upon the victim. This can be done through admission of other crimes, wrongs, or acts under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) and equivalent state or tribal evidence rules or statutes. Courts, however, are often hesitant to permit introduction of such evidence because the rule can be seen as both exclusionary and inclusionary. While evidence that merely shows propensity to commit acts of violence is often broadly prohibited in most jurisdictions, that same evidence is explicitly admissible under the Rule for other, proper purposes. The key is to identify evidence of other crimes or “bad acts” and then carefully explain the permitted purpose for which you are seeking to introduce the evidence.

This recording will:

  • Identify types of evidence that may be admissible for purposes permitted under the Rule
  • Suggest ways in which admissibility under the Rule can be argued
  • Discuss important considerations to avoid reversible error on appeal

CLE Credits
This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for one (1.0) hour of continuing legal education credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Click here to view the recording for this October 31, 2017 webinar.

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