Relevancy is the key to the entire analysis of the admissibility of evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts. Therefore, the proper inquiry is the probative relationship between the evidence and a fact at issue in the case before the court, not the relationship of the evidence to a categorical list of exceptions. The purpose of this article is to carefully analyze the rule and its exceptions so that both lawyers and judges may better determine when evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is admissible and when the introduction of such evidence violates both the rule and its exceptions. To properly make such an analysis, it is necessary to examine the history of the rule in order to determine the true basis for the prohibition against the introduction of evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts and the exceptions which permit the introduction of such evidence if relevant to an issue at hand. Also, because courts sometimes fail to distinguish between prior and subsequent acts when considering the introduction of evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts, this article outlines the differences between prior and subsequent acts which courts should recognize in determining admissibility. Finally, we formulate a rule which more fully reflects the true purpose and proper application of the rule governing the introduction of evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts.
Norman Krivosha, Thomas Lansworth, and Pennie Pirsch,
Relevancy: The Necessary Element in Using Evidence of Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Bad Acts to Convict,
60 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol60/iss4/2