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Federal Rule of Evidence 413: Propensity, Preeminence, and Prejudice

Federal Rule of Evidence 413: Propensity, Preeminence, and Prejudice

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Published by Joseph S. Amditis

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Joseph S. Amditis on May 09, 2012
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04/06/2013

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C
RIMINAL
L
AW
: T
HEORY
& P
RACTICE
01:202:309
R
UTGERS
U
NIVERSITY
S
CHOOLOF
A
RTSAND
S
CIENCES
November2011
F
EDERAL
R
ULEOF
E
VIDENCE
413:
Propensity,Preeminence,andPrejudice
JosephAmditis
 
C
RIMINAL
L
AW
:T
HEORY
&P
RACTICE
01:202:309
F
EDERAL
R
ULEOF
E
VIDENCE
413:
Propensity,Preeminence,andPrejudice
JosephAmditis
T
ABLEOF
C
ONTENTS
I.
 
Introduction............................................................................................................1II.
 
FederalRulesofEvidence403,404(b),and413....................................2a.
 
GeneralOverview.....................................................................................2b.
 
ProposalandPassage.............................................................................3III.
 
Opposition................................................................................................................5a.
 
PrejudicialImpact....................................................................................5b.
 
DueProcess.................................................................................................7IV.
 
Rape............................................................................................................................9a.
 
WhatisRape?.............................................................................................9b.
 
WhyisRapeDifferent?........................................................................10c.
 
WhoRapes?..............................................................................................11V.
 
ThePowersThatBe..........................................................................................16a.
 
TheRulesEnablingAct.......................................................................16b.
 
AViolationofProcedureandPrecedent.....................................18VI.
 
Conclusion.............................................................................................................20
 
F
EDERAL
R
ULEOF
E
VIDENCE
4131
I.Introduction
Fewthingsshocktheconscienceasdeeplyastheimagesofahelplessvictimwhoisforcedtosuccumbtothedesiresofarelentlesssexualaggressor.Theimmediateresponseofmanyindividualswouldbetolashoutandpunishtheaforementionedassailantforsuchavileanddespicableact,andgarnerretributionforthevictim.Afterall,whatkindofhorrible,immoral,andsoullessdegeneratecouldpossiblybringhimselftoforsakeallformsofcompassionandempathy,allowinghimtocommitsuchanatrocityuponafellowhumanbeing?Whilethesexualmisconductofarapistisnevertobecondonedoraccepted,itisimportanttoremember,beforecondemningtheallegedoffendertosufferaneternalfateoffireandbrimstone,thatalthoughmanywouldbehastytohanddownsuchjudgment,itisnotuntilthatjudgmenthasbeentriedandaffirmedinacourtoflawthatonecanbegintodistributetheappropriatepunishment.Toskipthiscrucialandfundamentalstepinourjudicialprocessistoruntheriskofnotonlyfailingtopunishthosetrulyresponsibleforsuchabhorrentcrimesasrape,buttofurtherexacerbatetheissuebycondemninganotherwiseinnocentmantosufferinthevillain’splace.Doesthisproverbialpillarofpresumedinnocencerootedinourjusticesystemweighinonmattersconcerningrepeatedaccusationsofsuchatrocitiesbythesameindividual?Arewetosimplywipetheslatecleanandallowthosewhohaverapedinthepasttoreceivethesamejudicialtreatmentasthosewhoappearbeforethecourtforthefirsttime?Theanswertothesepragmaticquestionsisaresoundingyes.
1

1
 
See
 
 People v. Zachowitz,
254 N.Y. 192, 172 N.E. 466 (1930) (Cardozo answers these questions when he says “In avery real sense a defendant starts his life afresh when he stands before a jury, a prisoner at the bar...”).

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