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Federal Rules of Evidence

General Provisions

Rule 101. Scope

  • These rules govern proceedings in the courts of the United States and before the United States bankruptcy judges and United States magistrate judges, to the extent and with the exceptions stated in rule 1101.

    Rule 102. Purpose and Construction

  • These rules shall be construed to secure fairness in administration, elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay, and promotion of growth and development of the law of evidence to the end that the truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined.

    Rule 103. Rulings on Evidence

    (a) Effect of erroneous ruling.

  • Error may not be predicated upon a ruling which admits or excludes evidence unless a substantial right of the party is affected, and
    1. Objection. In case the ruling is one admitting evidence, a timely objection or motion to strike appears of record, stating the specific ground of objection, if the specific ground was not apparent from the context; or
    2. Offer of proof. In case the ruling is one excluding evidence, the substance of the evidence was made known to the court by offer or was apparent from the context within which questions were asked.
    (b) Record of offer and ruling.
  • The court may add any other or further statement which shows the character of the evidence, the form in which it was offered, the objection made, and the ruling thereon. It may direct the making of an offer in question and answer form.
    (c) Hearing of jury.
  • In jury cases, proceedings shall be conducted, to the extent practicable, so as to prevent inadmissible evidence from being suggested to the jury by any means, such as making statements or offers of proof or asking questions in the hearing of the jury.
    (d) Plain error.
  • Nothing in this rule precludes taking notice of plain errors affecting substantial rights although they were not brought to the attention of the court.

    Rule 104. Preliminary Questions

    (a) Questions of admissibility generally.

  • Preliminary questions concerning the qualification of a person to be a witness, the existence of a privilege, or the admissibility of evidence shall be determined by the court, subject to the provisions of subdivision (b). In making its determination it is not bound by the rules of evidence except those with respect to privileges.
    (b) Relevancy conditioned on fact.
  • When the relevancy of evidence depends upon the fulfillment of a condition of fact, the court shall admit it upon, or subject to, the introduction of evidence sufficient to support a finding of the fulfillment of the condition.
    (c) Hearing of jury.
  • Hearings on the admissibility of confessions shall in all cases be conducted out of the hearing of the jury. Hearings on other preliminary matters shall be so conducted when the interests of justice require, or when an accused is a witness and so requests. (d) Testimony by accused.
  • The accused does not, by testifying upon a preliminary matter, become subject to cross-examination as to other issues in the case.
    (e) Weight and credibility.
  • · This rule does not limit the right of a party to introduce before the jury evidence relevant to weight or credibility.

    Rule 105. Limited Admissibility

  • When evidence which is admissible as to one party or for one purpose but not admissible as to another party or for another purpose is admitted, the court, upon request, shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and instruct the jury accordingly.

    Rule 106. Remainder of or Related Writings or Recorded Statements

  • When a writing or recorded statement or part thereof is introduced by a party, an adverse party may require the introduction at that time of any other part or any other writing or recorded statement which ought in fairness to be considered contemporaneously with it.

    Judicial Notice

    Rule 201. Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts

    (a) Scope of rule.

  • This rule governs only judicial notice of adjudicative facts.
    (b) Kinds of facts.
  • A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.
    (c) When discretionary.
  • A court may take judicial notice, whether requested or not.
    (d) When mandatory.
  • A court shall take judicial notice if requested by a party and supplied with the necessary information.
    (e) Opportunity to be heard.
  • A party is entitled upon timely request to an opportunity to be heard as to the propriety of taking judicial notice and the tenor of the matter noticed. In the absence of prior notification, the request may be made after judicial notice has been taken.
    (f) Time of taking notice.
  • · Judicial notice may be taken at any stage of the proceeding.
    (g) Instructing jury.
  • · In a civil action or proceeding, the court shall instruct the jury to accept as conclusive any fact judicially noticed. In a criminal case, the court shall instruct the jury that it may, but is not required to, accept as conclusive any fact judicially noticed.

    Presumptions in Civil Actions and Proceedings

    Rule 301. Presumptions in General Civil Actions and Proceedings

  • In all civil actions and proceedings not otherwise provided for by Act of Congress or by these rules, a presumption imposes on the party against whom it is directed the burden of going forward with evidence to rebut or meet the presumption, but does not shift to such party the burden of proof in the sense of the risk of nonpersuasion, which remains throughout the trial upon the party on whom it was originally cast.

    Rule 302. Applicability of State Law in Civil Actions and Proceedings

  • In civil actions and proceedings, the effect of a presumption respecting a fact which is an element of a claim or defense as to which State law supplies the rule of decision is determined in accordance with State law.

    Relevancy and its Limits

    Rule 401. Definition of "Relevant Evidence"

  • "Relevant evidence" means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.

    Rule 402. Relevant Evidence Generally Admissible; Irrelevant Evidence Inadmissible

  • All relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of the United States, by Act of Congress, by these rules, or by other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible.

    Rule 403. Exclusion of Relevant Evidence on Grounds of Prejudice, Confusion, or Waste of Time

  • Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.

    Rule 404. Character Evidence Not Admissible To Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes

    (a) Character evidence generally.

  • Evidence of a person's character or a trait of character is not admissible for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion, except:
    1. Character of accused. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character offered by an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the same;
    2. Character of victim. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character of the victim of the crime offered by an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the same, or evidence of a character trait of peacefulness of the victim offered by the prosecution in a homicide case to rebut evidence that the victim was the first aggressor;
    3. Character of witness. Evidence of the character of a witness, as provided in rules 607, 608, and 609

    (b) Other crimes, wrongs, or acts.

  • Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identify, or absence of mistake or accident, provided that upon request by the accused, the prosecution in a criminal case shall provide reasonable notice in advance of trial, or during trial if the court excuses pretrial notice on good cause shown, of the general nature of any such evidence it intends to introduce at trial.

    Rule 405. Methods of Proving Character
    (a) Reputation or opinion.

  • In all cases in which evidence of character or a trait of character of a person is admissible, proof may be made by testimony as to reputation or by testimony in the form of an opinion. On cross-examination, inquiry is allowable into relevant specific instances of conduct.

    (b) Specific instances of conduct.

  • In cases in which character or a trait of character of a person is an essential element of a charge, claim, or defense, proof may also be made of specific instances of that person's conduct.

    Rule 406. Habit; Routine Practice

  • Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eyewitnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.

    Rule 407. Subsequent Remedial Measures

  • When, after an event, measures are taken which, if taken previously, would have made the event less likely to occur, evidence of the subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence or culpable conduct in connection with the event. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of subsequent measures when offered for another purpose, such as proving ownership, control, or feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted, or impeachment.

    Rule 408. Compromise and Offers to Compromise

  • Evidence of (1) furnishing or offering or promising to furnish, or (2) accepting or offering or promising to accept, a valuable consideration in compromising or attempting to compromise a claim which was disputed as to either validity or amount, is not admissible to prove liability for or invalidity of the claim or its amount. Evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations is likewise not admissible. This rule does not require the exclusion of any evidence otherwise discoverable merely because it is presented in the course of compromise negotiations. This rule also does not require exclusion when the evidence is offered for another purpose, such as proving bias or prejudice of a witness, negativing a contention of undue delay, or proving an effort to obstruct a criminal investigation or prosecution.

    Rule 409. Payment of Medical and Similar Expenses

  • Evidence of furnishing or offering or promising to pay medical, hospital, or similar expenses occasioned by an injury is not admissible to prove liability for the injury.

    Rule 410. Inadmissibility of Pleas, Plea Discussions, and Related Statements

  • Except as otherwise provided in this rule, evidence of the following is not, in any civil or criminal proceeding, admissible against the defendant who made the plea or was a participant in the plea discussions:
    1. a plea of guilty which was later withdrawn;
    2. a plea of nolo contendere;
    3. any statement made in the course of any proceedings under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or comparable state procedure regarding either of the foregoing pleas; or
    4. any statement made in the course of plea discussions with an attorney for the prosecuting authority which do not result in a plea of guilty or which result in a plea of guilty later withdrawn.
    However, such a statement is admissible (i) in any proceeding wherein another statement made in the course of the same plea or plea discussions has been introduced and the statement ought in fairness be considered contemporaneously with it, or (ii) in a criminal proceeding for perjury or false statement if the statement was made by the defendant under oath, on the record and in the presence of counsel.

    Rule 411. Liability Insurance

  • Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible upon the issue whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of insurance against liability when offered for another purpose, such as proof of agency, ownership, or control, or bias or prejudice of a witness.

    Rule 412. Sex Offense Cases; Relevance of Victim's Past Behavior

    Federal Rules of Evidence - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - VIII - IX - X - XI


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