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Acts of Emotion: Analyzing Congressional Involvement in the Federal Rules of Evidence

46 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2011  

Michael Teter

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: September 8, 2011

Abstract

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

Teter, Michael, Acts of Emotion: Analyzing Congressional Involvement in the Federal Rules of Evidence (September 8, 2011). Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1924489

Michael Teter (Contact Author)

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

332 S. 1400 East, Room 101
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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