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Rule 106 and the First Circuit: Substantive Mechanism?

"Federal Rule of Evidence 106 is called the "rule of completeness." It attempts to prevent an unfair portrayal of a piece of evidence when presenting the full piece of evidence would paint a clearer picture. Different courts have interpreted its application in different ways." Click here for the previous blog post.

The question that often arises is whether 106 is substantive or procedural: does the rule allow in otherwise inadmissible evidence in order to be fair, or does the rule simply allow admissible evidence to be introduced immediately (procedural).

It looks like the First Circuit Court of Appeals follows the substantive method:

United States v. Altvater, 954 F.3d 45, 49 (1st Cir. 2020)

The court also emphasized that the rule of completeness cannot be used in a general manner, but rather the party attempting to introduce the other statement must explain why specifically that other statement needs to come in and how it would be explanatory:

United States v. Altvater, 954 F.3d 45, 49 (1st Cir. 2020)


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