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Abstract

An important tenet of American evidence law is the strict regulation on the introduction of character evidence. This principal has begun to be chipped away at through the adoption of amendments that allow character evidence to be introduced in certain types of cases. The Federal Rules of Evidence were subject to very little amendment during their first 20 years of use, and have always represented a blend of conservatism about evidence law and political compromise. This tension has been kept in check until the proposal of Rules 413-415, which represents a concession to the politicization of the rules. Before imposing such a drastic change, Congress should be sure that their proposal is backed by strong empirical evidence.

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