Evidence Rule 403


Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

Evidence Rule 403 -- Exclusion of Relevant Evidence on Grounds of Prejudice, Confusion or Waste of Time
State v. Blevins, 152 Ohio App. 3d 39, 2003-Ohio-1264 -- Bic pen tube was seized at roadside. Defendant was suspected of driving under the influence of OxyContin and mention of the tube and white powder inside gave rise to an inference the tube was used to inhale the drug. Failure to specifically object on the basis of Evid. R. 403 did not preserve the issue for appeal. Nor was admission plain error.
State v. Pressley, Franklin App. No. 02AP-1354, 2003-Ohio-6069 -- Prejudicial effect of testimony concerning victim's post-rape psychological problems substantially outweighed probative value regarding guilt or innocence.
Old Chief v. United States (1997), 519 U.S. 172 -- Defendant charged in federal court with having a weapon while under a disability offered to stipulate existence of prior conviction in order to avoid jury learning that it was for assault causing serious bodily injury. Applying Evidence Rule 403, held to be an abuse of discretion to allow prosecution to reject the stipulation and prove the prior offense.
State v. Henton (1997), 121 Ohio App. 3d 510 -- Prosecutor refused defendant's offer to stipulate he had a prior drug offense conviction, then, though proof of only one such conviction was required, offered evidence concerning two priors. Reversed.
State v. Day (1994), 99 Ohio App. 3d 514 -- It was not error to deny defendant's request to have element of prior conviction for domestic violence determined out of the hearing of the jury. Nor was it error to exclude evidence of possible bias arising from custody action. See dissent. For a case comparing the trial of a prior offense element to the jury to throwing a skunk into the jury box, see State v. Rivera (1994), 99 Ohio App. 3d 325, 331.
State v. Wright (1990), 48 Ohio St. 3d 5 -- Syllabus: "Evid. R. 609 (impeachment by prior conviction) must be considered in conjunction with Evid. R. 403. The trial judge therefore has broad discretion in determining the extent to which testimony will be allowed under Evid. R. 609. When exercising this discretion, all relevant factors must be weighed."
State v. Shields (1984), 15 Ohio App. 3d 112 -- Once a prior conviction has been acknowledged, Evid. R. 403 permits limitation of inquiry as to the specifics of the offense, if of marginal probative value.
State v. Benner (1988), 40 Ohio St. 3d 301, 313 -- The issue whether gruesome testimony by the coroner should be admitted is determined under Evid. R. 403 and not State v. Maurer.
State v. Steffen (1987), 31 Ohio St. 3d 111, 119-120 -- Testimony concerning a victim's intention to remain a virgin was of tenuous relevancy on the issue of consent. Potential prejudice was such that statement should not have been admitted.
State v. Davis (1980), 70 Ohio App. 2d 48 -- Both public policy and Evid. R. 403 bar reference to the defendant's refusal to accept a plea offer. The probative value, if any, of evidence relating to plea bargaining, is outweighed by possible prejudice and the risk of misleading the jury.
State v. Blevins (1987), 36 Ohio App. 3d 147, 150 -- When statements are not offered for the truth of the matter asserted, and when their content creates the potential for misunderstanding on the part of the jury, they should be excluded under Evid. R. 403(A).
State v. Smith (1986), 34 Ohio App. 3d 180, 187 -- Court notes that under the language of Evid. R. 403(A) credibility (a jury issue) is not to be weighed in determining admissibility. It is the probative value which is to be weighed.
Parma v. Manning (1986), 33 Ohio App. 3d 67 -- Headnote 1: "A trial court has discretion to exclude evidence of marginal probative value on collateral issues." (Defendant had tape recorded his arrest for trespassing.) Also see State v. Shields (1984), 15 Ohio App. 3d 112, 114.
Calderon v. Sharkey (1982), 70 Ohio St. 2d 218 -- The extent to which a medical expert may be cross-examined concerning his bias and pecuniary interest may be limited through application of Evid. R. 403(B).
State v. Smith (1985), 29 Ohio App. 3d 9 -- Headnote: "In a criminal trial, a prosecutor's repeated references to a defendant's possession at the time of arrest of a pellet gun, which was unrelated to the charge and not formally introduced into evidence, may inject sufficient prejudice and confusion into the proceedings to require reversal pursuant to Evid. R. 403(A)."
State v. Wilson (1982), 8 Ohio App. 3d 216 -- Headnote 3: "Where psychiatric or psychological testimony asserts a scientifically accurate conclusion on subjects whose scientific reliability is uncertain, such evidence should be rejected if the probative value of the expert testimony is outweighed by its prejudicial effect and its ability to confuse and mislead the jury."

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Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
Contents may not be duplicated without express permission.