New Rule Places Stricter Limits on Using Evidence of Prior Convictions
Benedict pointed to one case where, he said, a judge nearly admitted evidence of a 22-year-old conviction before the prosecutor withdrew the application.
The amendment "doesn't precisely give us a bright line" but "certainly gives the trial judges a whole lot more guidance" and is "a huge step in the right direction," he added.
The subcommittee had concerns about the trial court's use of disorderly persons convictions to "bridge the gap" in Harris but stopped short of prohibiting the practice, finding the proposed burden shift likely would be sufficient.
As for declining to require a heightened showing that the evidence's probative value "substantially" outweigh the prejudicial effect, the subcommittee found that judges' informal practice already had been to impose a higher burden during a remoteness analysis. •