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Rule 404. Character Evidence not Admissible to Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Evidence for Courts in the State of Arizona

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Evidence for Courts in the State of Arizona (Refs & Annos)
Article IV. Relevancy and Its Limits (Refs & Annos)
Arizona Rules of Evidence, Rule 404
Rule 404. Character Evidence not Admissible to Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes
(a) Character evidence generally. Evidence of a person's character or a trait of character is not admissible for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion, except:
(1) Character of accused or civil defendant. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character offered by an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the same, or evidence of the aberrant sexual propensity of the accused or a civil defendant pursuant to Rule 404(c);
(2) Character of victim. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character of the victim of the crime offered by an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the same, or evidence of a character trait of peacefulness of the victim offered by the prosecution in a homicide case to rebut evidence that the victim was the first aggressor;
(3) Character of witness. Evidence of the character of a witness, as provided in Rules 607, 608, and 609.
(b) Other crimes, wrongs, or acts. Except as provided in Rule 404(c) evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.
(c) Character evidence in sexual misconduct cases
In a criminal case in which a defendant is charged with having committed a sexual offense, or a civil case in which a claim is predicated on a party's alleged commission of a sexual offense, evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts may be admitted by the court if relevant to show that the defendant had a character trait giving rise to an aberrant sexual propensity to commit the offense charged. In such a case, evidence to rebut the proof of other crimes, wrongs, or acts, or an inference therefrom, may also be admitted.
(1) In all such cases, the court shall admit evidence of the other act only if it first finds each of the following:
(A) The evidence is sufficient to permit the trier of fact to find that the defendant committed the other act.
(B) The commission of the other act provides a reasonable basis to infer that the defendant had a character trait giving rise to an aberrant sexual propensity to commit the crime charged.
(C) The evidentiary value of proof of the other act is not substantially outweighed by danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of issues, or other factors mentioned in Rule 403. In making that determination under Rule 403 the court shall also take into consideration the following factors, among others:
(i) remoteness of the other act;
(ii) similarity or dissimilarity of the other act;
(iii) the strength of the evidence that defendant committed the other act;
(iv) frequency of the other acts;
(v) surrounding circumstances;
(vi) relevant intervening events;
(vii) other similarities or differences;
(viii) other relevant factors.
(D) The court shall make specific findings with respect to each of (A), (B), and (C) of Rule 404(c)(1).
(2) In all cases in which evidence of another act is admitted pursuant to this subsection, the court shall instruct the jury as to the proper use of such evidence.
(3) In all criminal cases in which the state intends to offer evidence of other acts pursuant to this subdivision of Rule 404, the state shall make disclosure to the defendant as to such acts as required by Rule 15.1, Rules of Criminal Procedure, no later than 45 days prior to the final trial setting or at such later time as the court may allow for good cause. The defendant shall make disclosure as to rebuttal evidence pertaining to such acts as required by Rule 15.2, no later than 20 days after receipt of the state's disclosure or at such other time as the court may allow for good cause. In all civil cases in which a party intends to offer evidence of other acts pursuant to this subdivision of Rule 404, the parties shall make disclosure as required by Rule 26.1, Rules of Civil Procedure, no later than 60 days prior to trial, or at such later time as the court may allow for good cause shown.
(4) As used in this subsection of Rule 404, the term “sexual offense” is as defined in A.R.S. Sec. 13-1420(C) and, in addition, includes any offense of first-degree murder pursuant to A.R.S. Sec. 13-1105(A)(2) of which the predicate felony is sexual conduct with a minor under Sec. 13-1405, sexual assault under Sec. 13-1406, or molestation of a child under Sec. 13-1410.

Credits

Amended Oct. 19, 1988, effective Nov. 1, 1988; Aug. 19, 1997, effective Dec. 1, 1997; Sept. 27, 2005, effective Dec. 1, 2005.

Editors' Notes

COMMENT TO 2012 AMENDMENT
The language of Rule 404 has not been changed in any manner. [Text of comment eff. Jan. 1, 2012.]
COMMENT TO 1997 AMENDMENT
Subsection (c) of Rule 404 is intended to codify and supply an analytical framework for the application of the rule created by case law in State v. Treadaway, 116 Ariz. 163, 568 P.2d 1061 (1977), and State v. McFarlin, 110 Ariz. 225, 517 P.2d 87 (1973). The rule announced in Treadaway and McFarlin and here codified is an exception to the common-law rule forbidding the use of evidence of other acts for the purpose of showing character or propensity.
Subsection (1)(B) of Rule 404(c) is intended to modify the Treadaway rule by permitting the court to admit evidence of remote or dissimilar other acts providing there is a “reasonable” basis, by way of expert testimony or otherwise, to support relevancy, i.e., that the commission of the other act permits an inference that defendant had an aberrant sexual propensity that makes it more probable that he or she committed the sexual offense charged. The Treadaway requirement that there be expert testimony in all cases of remote or dissimilar acts is hereby eliminated.
The present codification of the rule permits admission of evidence of the other act either on the basis of similarity or closeness in time, supporting expert testimony, or other reasonable basis that will support such an inference. To be admissible in a criminal case, the relevant prior bad act must be shown to have been committed by the defendant by clear and convincing evidence. State v. Terrazas, 189 Ariz. 580, 944 P.2d 1194 (1997).
Notwithstanding the language in Treadaway, the rule does not contemplate any bright line test of remoteness or similarity, which are solely factors to be considered under subsection (1)(c) of Rule 404(c). A medical or other expert who is testifying pursuant to Rule 404(c) is not required to state a diagnostic conclusion concerning any aberrant sexual propensity of the defendant so long as his or her testimony assists the trier of fact and there is other evidence which satisfies the requirements of subsection (1)(B).
Subsection (1)(C) of the rule requires the court to make a Rule 403 analysis in all cases. The rule also requires the court in all cases to instruct the jury on the proper use of any other act evidence that is admitted. At a minimum, the court should instruct the jury that the admission of other acts does not lessen the prosecution's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the jury may not convict the defendant simply because it finds that he committed the other act or had a character trait that predisposed him to commit the crime charged.
COMMENT TO ORIGINAL 1977 RULE
State v. Superior Court, 113 Ariz. 22, 545 P.2d 946 (1976) is consistent with and interpretative of Rule 404(a)(2).
APPLICATION
<Applicable to cases pending on and after that date, except civil cases as to which the final trial date is set to occur between December 1, 1997 and February 1, 1998 and criminal cases as to which the final trial date is set to occur between December 1, 1997 and January 15, 1998.>
HISTORICAL NOTE
Source:
Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 404.
17A Pt. 1 A. R. S. Rules of Evid., Rule 404, AZ ST REV Rule 404
Current with amendments received through 05/1/2020.
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