Posts made in October, 2012

When and How to use Character Evidence

When and How to use Character Evidence

Due to the potential for misuse, evidence of a person’s character is admissible in very limited circumstances.  A jury that hears evidence of a person’s tendency toward violence, for instance, would probably find it difficult to disregard this information in determining whether the person committed a violent crime.  As a result, the rules defining the proper use of character evidence have been crafted over years of litigation as...

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Alternative Perpetrator Theories and Reverse-Spreigl Evidence

Alternative Perpetrator Theories and Reverse-Spreigl Evidence

As part of the constitutional right to present a complete defense, Minnesota courts have held that criminal defendants should in certain circumstances be permitted to present evidence suggesting that the crime charged was committed by an alternative perpetrator. State v. Larson, 787 N.W.2d 592, 597 (Minn. 2010). In order to present any evidence of an alternative perpetrator theory, the defendant must lay foundation by introducing evidence...

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Spreigl Evidence – The Basics

Spreigl Evidence – The Basics

Spreigl evidence is evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts. In other words, it is evidence that a person engaged in a bad act other than that which led to the case at hand. Minnesota Rule of Evidence 404(b) excludes other acts evidence to prove that the person acted the same way in the matter on trial, but allows admission of this evidence for the purpose of showing motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or...

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Relevance and the Rule 403 Analysis

Relevance and the Rule 403 Analysis

We’re going back to basics today, examining relevance and the analysis necessary when certain evidence has potential prejudicial value. According to Minnesota Rule of Evidence 401, “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.  However, not all relevant...

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Introduction – a note from the author

Introduction – a note from the author

Hello and welcome to Minnesota Trial Evidence. This site will provide articles focused on the application of rules of evidence, including the Minnesota Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and occasionally for purpose of comparison, the rules of evidence from other states.   Content will discuss new case law, evidence law in the news, and basic evidentiary principles.  Articles will also periodically discuss constitutional...

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