Rule 404(b) has been described as the most controversial of the Federal Rules of Evidence. In many states, errors in the admission of uncharged misconduct evidence are the most common ground for reversal in criminal cases. Testimony about an accused’s other crimes can be so prejudicial that it is “often virtually decisive of the whole case.”

It would be a mistake to jettison the character evidence prohibition altogether. Evidence reformers should focus on improving the administration of the doctrine of objective chances rather than seeking its abolition.



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