{br} STUCK with your assignment? {br} When is it due? {br} Get FREE assistance. Page Title: {title}{br} Page URL: {url}
UK: +44 748 007-0908, USA: +1 917 810-5386 [email protected]


    1. What is the relationship between Rules 401 and 403?
      2. What appears to have been the intent behind Rule 403? Does the way in which it is worded tell you anything about its intended purpose? If so, how?
      3. A’s lawyer offers a piece of evidence. B’s lawyer objects, citing Rule 403 and urging that the evidence must be excluded because it “prejudices” B. Will this claim, by itself, result in an order sustaining B’s objection and excluding the evidence in question? Why/why not?
      4. Find and read three cases that address Rule 403. Each case has to have been decided by either a federal circuit court, the Arizona Supreme Court, or the Arizona Court of Appeals.
      5. Cite the cases. In discussing each case, talk enough about the underlying facts enough to illuminate the “403” issue. What does the case tell you about how Rule 403 should be interpreted and applied? Do you agree with the Court’s conclusion(s) about Rule 403? Why/why not?



Subject Law and governance Pages 8 Style APA


Federal Rules of Evidence: Rule 403

Question 1

The main relationship between Rule 401 and Rule 403 is that they both speak to the strength and admissibility of evidence. They both speak to the relevance of the evidence that is being presented before the court. Rule 401 provides the definition of the term ‘relevant evidence.’ It is noted that “evidence is relevant if it has a tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and the act is of consequence in determining the action” (Arizona Rules of Evidence, 1988, Rule 401). If, for instance, evidence arises to the effect that an accused person bought a revolver two hours before a shooting that he is charged for, this evidence can be deemed as relevant since it possesses the tendency to make the act in question more or less probable and the act of the purchase is of consequence in determining the act of shooting.

Similarly, Rule 403 provides that relevant evidence can be excluded if it serves to bring about unfair prejudice, confusion, or a waste of the court’s time (Arizona Rules of Evidence, 1988). In light of this, Rule 403 can be seen as a continuation of Rule 401. This means that whereas a piece of evidence may be regarded as relevant, its relevance is not absolute. It is measured against the three above stated scenarios so as to ensure that the overriding objective of the court is met.

Question 2

Part of the wordings of Rule 403 is that “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 members, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence” (Arizona Rules of Evidence, 1988, Rule 403). Based on the wordings, it is clear that the rule was meant to ensure that the overriding objective of the court is met. It was meant to curb the possible use of the provisions in Rule 401 to unnecessarily cause delay, prejudice a party, or bring a multiplicity of confusing issues over a piece of evidence that (although relevant) has little probative value due to (in part) the attached inconveniences. It is important to note in this regard that the principle of the Overriding Objective (otherwise known as the oxygen principle) requires that cases are dealt with fairly, expeditiously, cost-effectively, and efficiently, without undue regard to procedural technicalities (Garland & McEwan, 2012). This principle is met through Rule 403, since the rule prohibits the use of Rule 401 to unnecessarily occasion delays and unfairly prejudice other parties to the suit.

Question 3

If A’s lawyer offers a piece of evidence and B’s lawyer objects while citing Rule 403 and urging that the evidence must be excluded because it prejudices B, this claim by itself will not lead to an order sustaining B’s objection and excluding the evidence in question. If the claim was sustained on the face of it at this point, this would mean that Rule 403 is an absolute rule. This is, however, not the position. Ideally, when such an objection is presented, the court considers the extent to which the danger of unfair prejudice substantially outweighs the relevance of the evidence in question (Dodson, 2016). For the evidence to be excluded, there must be more than a mere tipping of the scales. Specifically speaking, if the case is criminal in nature, all the evidence presented against the defendant will be prejudicial against him. It should, therefore, be clear that the prejudice substantially outweighs the relevance of the evidence.


Question 4

Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172 (1997)

In this case, after a scuffle that resulted in one gunshot, the petitioner was charged with various offences including violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) which made it an offence for anyone convicted of a crime that is punishable for a term exceeding one year to be in possession of a firearm (Old Chief v. United States, 1997). The defendant objected to the provision of testimony to the effect that the prior conviction was for assault causing grievous bodily harm (Old Chief v. United States, 1997). The defendant further offered to make that stipulation himself while arguing that the offer made the prior conviction inadmissible. The appellate circuit court held that the offer by the defendant to concede should not have been ignored by the trial court.

According to this case, Rule 403 ought to be interpreted by weighing the scale between the danger of unfair prejudice and the relevance of evidence. If the evidence has little probative value yet (considering the other self-apparent evidence that was already available) yet it prejudices the defendant, the evidence will be excluded. I agree with the appellate court’s decision because based on the unique circumstances of the case, it is apparent that the presentation of the evidence by the prosecution was solely geared towards prejudicing the defendant. It was meant to hit the nail on the coffin by prejudicing the jurors against the defendant.


In this case, the defendant was convicted of the offence of felony domestic violence after having allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at a hotel (State v. Haskie, 2017). Whereas the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, the Arizona Supreme Court vacated some of the opinions that had been rendered by the previous appellate court. Of significance to note in this case is that during the trial, the victim recanted her statement to the police with the aim of protecting her boyfriend. The prosecution, therefore, had to rely on an expert witness who would provide a cold testimony regarding the general behavior of victims of domestic violence. In light of the use of such evidence, the Supreme Court noted that trial courts should exercise great caution in admitting such evidence so as to avoid prejudicing the defendant (State v. Haskie, 2017). It was noted that such testimonies should be limited in scope so as to avoid the possibility of making presumptive inferences regarding the conduct or character of the accused so as to prejudice him.

With respect to the use of cold testimonies from expert witnesses, Rule 403 should be applied through the exclusion of any evidence that falls outside of the delineated scope. An expert witness can, for instance, be prevented from making inferences that are too similar with the defendant’s circumstances. This ensures that defendants are not unfairly prejudiced. I agree with the decision that was arrived at by the Supreme Court because considering the fact that expert witnesses are accomplished professionals, it is probable that their testimony will be highly regarded, thus if such evidence is prejudicial to the defendant, an injustice may be occasioned.

State of Arizona v. Louie Thomas Machado, 2 CA-CR 2008-0205 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2010)

In this case, the defendant was charged for the murder of a 16-year-old girl who was shot dead at the front of her porch after a brief scuffle. When the murder occurred, no one saw the person who had been arguing with the victim. However, a month later, the family received a phone call from an individual who was claiming that he committed the murder. He spoke of certain details that were not known to the public. Since the focus was on Jonathan, an individual who had previously threatened to kill the victim, the police sought to match the sample with his voice but later lost the sample before they could match it. Several years later, the police shifted their focus to Thomas Machado whose mother had fabricated a confession that he had admitted to the murder (State of Arizona v. Machado, 2010). During this trial, Machado claimed that Jonathan was the one who had committed the murder. The Supreme Court held that the exclusion of the phone call from evidence was a huge flaw.

This case shows that relevant evidence ought not to be excluded if it does not fall within the precincts of Rule 403. I agree with the decision arrived at by the Supreme Court because the exclusion of the evidence appeared like (more of) an oversight. The trial court erred in procedurally failing to admit the relevant evidence.







Arizona Rules of Evidence, 1988,

Dodson, M. (2016). Bruton on balance: standardizing redacted codefendant confessions through Federal Rule of Evidence 403. Vand. L. Rev., 69, 803.

Garland, F., & McEwan, J. (2012). Embracing the overriding objective: difficulties and dilemmas in the new criminal climate. The International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 16(3), 233-262.

State v. Haskie, 399 P.3d 657, 242 Ariz. 582 (2017).

State v. Machado, 230 P.3d 1158, 224 Ariz. 343 (Ct. App. 2010).



Related Samples

WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
👋 Hi, how can I help?