Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Does the Character Evidence Rule Exist in Colorado?

The Supreme Court of Colorado says that such a rule does exist in Colorado. But if the reasoning in Colorado v. Rath, 44 P.3d 1033 (Colo. 2002), is followed, when (if ever) would the Colorado character evidence rule require the exclusion of the "other bad acts" of an alleged rapist or similar [alleged] miscreant -- or any alleged criminal miscreant of any kind (e.g., alleged robber, burglar, murderer, thief)?

Of course, irrelevant bad acts would {presumably} still be inadmissible in Colorado. But Colorado trial judges don't need a character evidence rule to figure that out: the familiar maxim that irrelevant evidence is inadmissible should suffice.
If the Colorado Supreme Court wants to do away with the character evidence rule in Colorado, perhaps it should 'fess up and do so openly.
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