Acts of Emotion: Analyzing Congressional Involvement in the Federal Rules of Evidence
46 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 8, 2011
When Congress intervenes in amending the Federal Rules of Evidence it displays the very characteristics that Rule 403 is designed to keep out of the courtroom. Indeed, the history surrounding enactment of Rules 413-415 (allowing prior bad act evidence in sexual crimes) and Rule 704(b) (restricting use of expert testimony on the mental state of the defendant) shows that Congress often succumbs to inflamed passions, emotional appeals, and faulty logic when considering evidentiary rules. However, unlike a jury‟s display of these traits, which reaches only to the single case before it, congressional interference in the Federal Rules of Evidence results in wide-ranging and long-term detriment to the fairness of America‟s system of justice. For these reasons, Congress should refrain from directly involving itself in the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation