Relevant vs. Unfair Prejudice: Federal Rules 401 and 403

AuthorChristy Albano
Generally, evidence must be relevant to be
admissible. ereafter, relevant evidence may be
denied admission based upon unfair prejudice,
that it is misleading, causes confusion or undue
delay, wastes time, or is needlessly cumulative.
Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence states:
Evidence is relevant if:
(a) It has a tendency to make a fact more or less
probable than it would be without the evidence; and
(b) e fact is of consequence in determining the
Federal Rule 403 is a limitation on Federal Rule 401 and
denes when relevant evidence may be excluded:
e court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative
value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or
more of the following:
(a) unfair prejudice,
(b) confusing the issues,
(c) misleading the jury,
(d) undue delay,
(e) wasting time, or
(f) needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.
Relevant vs.
Unfair Prejudice
Federal Rules 401 and 403
We examine here what constitutes relevant evidence and
how courts across the country weigh the probative vs.
prejudicial value of evidence.
e General Rule of Admissibility is set forth in Tilson v.
Tilson, 307 Neb. 275 (2020). “A trial court has the discretion
to determine the relevancy and admissibility of evidence, and
such determinations will not be disturbed on appeal unless
they constitute an abuse of that discretion.”
When determining whether evidence is relevant, the courts
look to the specic facts and consider whether the evidence
oered provides probative value to the legal issues in the case.
If the evidence has a tendency to make a material fact more
or less likely, then it has probative value. All that must be
established, however slight, is a rational and probative
connection between the evidence oered and specic facts in
the case.
In Harrison v. Harrison, 58 Va. App. 90 (2011), the
husband argued the court should nd in personam jurisdic-
tion based on a proposed theory of “constructive matrimo-
Published in Family Advocate, Volume 44, Number 4, Spring 2022. © 2022 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof
may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT