Evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make any material fact more or less probable.
Otherwise admissible evidence can be excluded if it’s probative value is substantially outweighed by NUWCUM: needless presentation of cumulative evidence, unfair prejudice, waste of time, confusion of the issues, undue delay, misleading the jury
P's accidnent history
But is Admissible if the cause of P's injuries is in issue
Similar Accidents Caused by Same Event or Condition
D's other accidents inadmissible, only suggest general character for carelessness
But allowed if same instrumentality or condition and under substantially similar conditions for one of following purposes
1. to show existence of dangerous condition
2. causation of the accident
3. prior notice to D
Intent in Issue
Prior similar conduct of a person may be admissible to raise an inference of person's intent on a later occasion
Comparable Sales on Issue of Value
selling price of other property of similar type, in same general location, and close in time to period issue, is some evidence of value of property at issue
Habit is a repetitive response to a particular set of circumstances, measured by frequency and particularity
Admissible as circumstantial evidence of how the person acted on the occasion at issue
Distinguished from character evidence which refers to a person's general disposition or propensity
Industrial Custom as Standard of Care
Evid as to how others have acted in the recent past may be admitted re appropriate standard of care
is inadmissible for proving fault or its absence, but it can be used to establish ownership/control where D denies it or to impeach a witness for bias (must give limiting instruction)
Subsequent Remedial Measures
not admissible to show negligence/product defect, but it can be used to show ownership/control or feasibility where D denies it
Settlements of Disputed Civil Claims
INADMISSIBLE: settlement, offer to settle, statements of fact for the purpose of settlement discussions
EXCEPTIONS: for purpose of impeaching a witness on ground of bias and statements to gvoernment regulatory agency
EXCLUSIONARY RULE ONLY APPLIES if there is a CLAIM that is DISPUTED at time of settlement discussions as to validity or amount of damages
INADMISSIBLE: offer to plead guilty, withdrawn guilty plea, plea of nolo contendere (fine in VA), statements of fact during any of above discussions
Guilty pleas may be used against D in subsequent litigation from the STO. This doesn’t include offers to plead guilty, withdrawals of guilty pleas, statements of fact made during withdrawn pleas and offers, and No-Lo pleas (In Va, No-Lo pleas can be used against D is subsequent civil litigation arising from the STO)
Offer to Pay Hospital or Medical Expenses
Offers to pay hospital/medical bills are inadmissible. But this doesn’t cover statements made in connection with an offer
Character evidence can only be used where character is an essential element in the case (defamation, child custody, negligent hiring), to impeach, and to show a criminal D’s conformity if D opens the door by offering reputation or opinion testimony of a relevant trait.
If D opens the door, the prosecution may rebut with specific instances if he has a good faith basis or by calling his own witnesses to contradict D’s testimony.
In self-defense cases, D can open the door by putting on reputation/opinion evidence of V’s violent character, and the prosecution can rebut with evidence of V’s peaceable character or of D’s violent character
Rape Shield Law
prevents D from offering evidence of V’s prior sexual activity, unless SCM: it’s to prove the semen wasn’t his, to prove prior consent, or if it would violate D’s constitutional right because V had motive to falsely claim the sex was nonconsensual in order to preserve her relationship with a TP.
D’s prior rapes and molestations can be used against him to prove conformity
Unless character is an essential element, it’s
inadmissible in a civil case.
Character is never an essential element in a criminal case.
In criminal cases, the prosecution can use character evidence in its case in chief for other purposes:
MIMIC: motive, intent, lack of mistake or accident, identity/modus operandi, common scheme or plan.