Washington Law Review


The U.S. Congress has provisionally enacted three new federal rules of evidence (FRE). In cases of sexual assault or child molestation, FRE 413-415 allow the use, for any relevant purpose, of sexual assault or child molestation evidence not charged in the indictment or information. The new rules would operate in contravention of the traditional prohibition against using evidence of other misconduct for the purpose of proving that the defendant acted in conformity with a particular character trait on the occasion in question. This Comment surveys the arguments for and against the proposed changes. It concludes that Washington should not elect to follow this latest addition to the Federal Rules of Evidence on grounds that the new rules are too broad to fairly govern the use of such potentially prejudicial evidence. The Comment discusses less drastic changes which would improve the way in which other sexual misconduct evidence is used in Washington state courts.

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