Evidence: Rule 403 balancing

Rule 403: cost/benefit analysis
  • unfair prejudice
  • confusion of issues
  • misleading
  • undue delay, waste, cumulative
Rule 403 interacts with Rules 401 and 402:
  • All relevant evidence is inherently prejudicial
  • The 403 balancing process presents an accuracy dilemma
  • Evidence is not an island onto itself
  • Unfair prejudice occurs when an item of evidence provokes the jury to decide a case on an improper basis
  • The mere fact that an item of evidence causes jurors to have an emotional response does not make it unfairly prejudicial
  • Jurors are not logic machines
  • Rule 403 offsets the lax standard set forth in Rules 401 & 402
  • Unfair prejudice is not the only basis for exclusion under Rule 403
  • Rule 403 (almost) always applicable and should (usually) be the last stop in determining admissibility
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Related Notes

Related Commentary