10-1-09 US v. Robinson - Conditional Relevancy evidence

10-1-09 US v. Robinson - Conditional Relevancy evidence -...

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Peter Tillers' General Home Page Evidence Course Home Page United States v. Robinson : A Study in Multistage Inference Peter Tillers Copyright 2001, 2007 Evidence Course Professor Peter Tillers Cardozo Law School An essential part of the subject matter of this course in the law of evidence is inference. Bentham devised some terminology about inference that remains in use: In many of our discussions so far we have assumed the sort of "simple" inference shown above, inferences involving one step. However, inferences can have more than one step. For example:
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What bearing does the point immediately above have on United States v. Robinson (which is considered next)? Extracts from the Opinions in Robinson A Preliminary Point: Portions of two opinions in United States v. Robinson are set forth below. In reading those opinions please keep in mind two interwined points. First, there is talk in the case about the undue prejudice rule. Second, there is talk in the case about the character evidence rule -- a rule also known as the propensity rule. These two matters play an important part in the reasoning in the Robinson opinions found below. The character evidence rule prohibits the use of a person's propensity to show his behavior; it prohibits showing what a person is to prove what he did. See Federal Rule of Evidence 404(a). Assume Pr = propensity Cr = criminal conduct The inference from propensity to criminal conduct (shown below) is prohibited.
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Since character cannot be used to show conduct, it also follows that a fact cannot be shown when the purpose of proving that fact is show that a person has a certain kind of character trait or propensity and then to show that, because that person had that character trait or propensity, he acted in a certain way. For example, it is not permissible to offer evidence that a defendant possessed a gun, to show that the defendant had a propensity to commit a crime, in order to show that he therefore committed the crime charged: The opinions in United States v Robinson : First Set of Opinions in Robinson United States v. Robinson, 544 F.2d 611 (2d Cir., 1976) (edited for student use): Oakes, Circuit Judge: This singular case involves the admissibility of testimony regarding a.38-caliber handgun found in the possession of appellant, Cecil Robinson, at the time of his arrest for bank robbery. Following the exclusion of both the gun itself and testimony pertaining thereto at appellant's first trial, the jury hung 8-4 for conviction. With the admission of evidence pertaining to the gun at a retrial, a conviction was rendered after three days of jury deliberation and two Allen-type charges, Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492, 501-02, 41 L. Ed. 528, 17 S. Ct. 154 (1896). The conviction, for bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), n1 led to the imposition of a twelve-year prison sentence by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Frederick van Pelt Bryan, Judge. n1 Appellant was also indicted for conspiracy to commit bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 371, and armed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C.
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10-1-09 US v. Robinson - Conditional Relevancy evidence -...

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