Washington State Rule of Evidence 403 is a rule of evidence that allows for the exclusion of relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury. This rule is designed to ensure that the jury is not presented with evidence that is more likely to mislead or confuse them than to help them reach a fair verdict.
There are a few key factors that the court will consider when determining whether to exclude evidence under Rule 403:
- The probative value of the evidence: How likely is it that the evidence will help the jury reach a correct verdict?
- The potential for unfair prejudice: Is there a risk that the evidence will unfairly prejudice the jury against one side or the other?
- The potential for confusion: Is there a risk that the evidence will confuse the jury or make it more difficult for them to understand the case?
- The potential for misleading the jury: Is there a risk that the evidence will mislead the jury or lead them to believe something that is not true?
If the court finds that the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion, or misleading the jury, then the evidence will be excluded.
Rule 403 is an important rule of evidence that helps to ensure that the jury is presented with evidence that is relevant and helpful to their decision-making process. By excluding evidence that is more likely to mislead or confuse the jury than to help them reach a fair verdict, Rule 403 helps to ensure that justice is served.
You can find ER 403 here: https://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/pdf/ER/GA_ER_04_03_00.pdf
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