While the rules of evidence rarely are amended (807 had it coming though), they are often interpreted and applied in different ways each year by appellate courts. Looking back on 2019, let's see some of the most significant evidence cases from the year.*
West Virginia v. Benny W.
Character evidence is generally prohibited from showing someone acted in conformity with that character trait. However, there are several exceptions. We most often hear about the exceptions to character evidence with 404(b): prior bad acts of the defendant. But what about when the defendant wants to introduce good character traits of himself? Under 404(a) a defendant is limited to introducing a character trait if it is "pertinent." This case goes through 404(a) and what a pertinent trait is.
State v. Benny W., No. 18-0349, 2019 WL 5301942 (W. Va. Oct. 18, 2019)
*Many cases are still on appeal, and no one is endorsing or giving an opinion on the case. Merely that the case was significant when it was handed own.