Rule 401. Definition of "Relevant Evidence"

"Relevant evidence" means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.

(Federal Rule Identical.)


Law reviews. For article, "Hearsay in Criminal Cases Under the Colorado Rules of Evidence: An Overview", see 50 U. Colo. L. Rev. 277 (1979). For article, "The Admissibility of Hypnotically Refreshed Testimony in Criminal Cases", see 12 Colo. Law. 600 (1983). For article, "Discovery and Admissibility of Police Internal Investigation Reports", see 12 Colo. Law. 1745 (1983). For case note, "People v. Quintana: How 'Probative' Is This Colorado Decision Excluding Evidence of Post-Arrest Silence?", see 56 U. Colo. L. Rev. 157 (1984). For article, "Mythological Rules of Evidence", see 16 Colo. Law. 1218 (1987). For article, "Hypnotically Refreshed Testimony in Trials — A New Approach", see 18 Colo. Law. 632 (1988). For article, "Tips for Working With Evidence in Domestic Relations Cases", see 31 Colo. Law. 87 (June 2002). For article, "The Admissibility of Evidence of the Pre-Trial Exercise of Constitutional Rights", see 37 Colo. Law. 81 (July 2008).

There is no qualitative difference between direct and circumstantial evidence. People in Interest of M.S.H., 656 P.2d 1294 (Colo. 1983).

Test for determining relevancy of real evidence is that such evidence must only be connected in some manner with either the perpetrator, the victim, or the crime. People in Interest of R.G., 630 P.2d 89 (Colo. App. 1981); People v. Carlson, 677 P.2d 390 (Colo. App. 1983).

As a general rule, facts which logically tend to prove or disprove the fact in issue or which afford a reasonable inference or shed light upon the matter contested are relevant. However, facts collateral to or bearing so remotely upon the issue that they afford only conjectural inference should not be admitted in evidence. People v. Botham, 629 P.2d 589 (Colo. 1981); People v. More, 668 P.2d 968 (Colo. App. 1983).

If evidence is relevant and material, its admission is not error merely because the evidence is cumulative. People v. Salas, 902 P.2d 398 (Colo. App. 1994).

An objection to the relevance of evidence does not include an objection that the evidence, if admissible, is unduly prejudicial under C.R.E. 403 because of the substantial difference in analysis trial courts perform under C.R.E. 403 and this rule. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. DeWitt, 216 P.3d 60 (Colo. App. 2008), aff'd, 218 P.3d 318 (Colo. 2009).

Nexus required for relevancy. Without a nexus between the deceased's prior violent acts and the actions of the defendant, the occurrence of these prior violent acts would be of no consequence in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the defendant. People v. Lyle, 200 Colo. 236, 613 P.2d 896 (Colo. 1980).

Establishment of fact through use of negative allowed. Evidence is not irrelevant simply because it tends to establish a fact through the use of a negative. People v. Bueno, 626 P.2d 1167 (Colo. App. 1981).

When chain of custody necessary. Only where no single witness can establish the connection of evidence with the perpetrator, victim, or crime is an unbroken chain of custody of a specific item of evidence necessary in order to demonstrate relevancy. People in Interest of R.G., 630 P.2d 89 (Colo. App. 1981).

Issues concerning alleged deficiencies in the chain of custody go to the weight rather than the admissibility of evidence. People v. Gomez, 632 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 943, 102 S.Ct. 1439, 71 L. Ed. 2d 655 (1982); People v. Moltrer, 893 P.2d 1331 (Colo. App. 1994).

Relevance of silence upon arrest. Evidence of a defendant's failure to make a statement to the arresting officers may be so ambiguous and lacking in probative value as to be inadmissible as substantive evidence. People v. Quintana, 665 P.2d 605 (Colo. 1983).

Silence generally is thought to lack probative value on the question of whether a person has expressed tacit agreement or disagreement with contemporaneous statements of others. People v. Quintana, 665 P.2d 605 (Colo. 1983).

Silence has probative value and may be admissible. People v. Quintana, 665 P.2d 605 (Colo. 1983).

Defendant's non-responsiveness at crime scene and at hospital not properly admitted since defendant's defense of dissociative state did not rely on defendant's state of mind at hospital or crime scene and was therefore irrelevant to whether defendant was sane at the moment she shot the victim, and danger of unfair prejudice and likelihood of misleading the jury far outweighed any possible probative value that testimony regarding the defendant's silence might have had. People v. Welsh, 80 P.3d 296 (Colo. 2003).

Polygraph evidence inadmissible. Evidence of polygraph test results and testimony of polygraph examiners is per se...

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