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Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Limited Too: Court Of Appeals Of Indiana Notes That Its Rule 105 Is Different From Every Other Rule 105

Federal Rule of Evidence 105 provides that

When evidence which is admissible as to one party or for one purpose but not admissible as to another party or for another purpose is admitted, the court, upon request, shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and instruct the jury accordingly.

Meanwhile, Indiana Rule of Evidence 105 provides that

When evidence which is admissible as to one party or for one purpose but not admissible as to another party or for another purpose is admitted, the court, upon request, shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and admonish the jury accordingly.

So, is there a difference between the word "instruct" in Federal Rule of Evidence 105 and the word "admonish" in Indiana Rule of Evidence 105? According to the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of Indiana in Webb v. State, 2011 WL 1379830 (Ind.App. 2011), the answer is "yes."

In Webb, Brice Webb was convicted of murder. At trial, the prosecution introduced into evidence a videotaped interrogation of him by police. On appeal, Webb claimed, inter alia,

that the videotaped police interview should not have been admitted because "the statements of officers conducting the interrogation were prejudicial, and that prejudicial impact outweighed the probative value."...He also argue[d] that the statements police attributed to third parties constituted inadmissible hearsay. Finally, he maintain[ed] that "any limiting [i]nstruction is insufficient to overcome the prejudice created by" the hearsay statements

In response, the Court of Appeals of Indiana noted that

Webb argue[d] only that statements by police on the videotape, not his own statements, [we]re inadmissible. In essence, then, his argument [wa]s based on evidence that is admissible in one sense and inadmissible in another. Evidence Rule 105, which applies in such instances, provides: "When evidence which is admissible as to one party or for one purpose but not admissible as to another party or for another purpose is admitted, the court, upon request, shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and admonish the jury accordingly."

The court then noted that in Humphrey v. State, 680 N.E.2d 836, 839 n.7 (Ind. 1997), the Supreme Court of Indiana said the following about Indiana Rule of Evidence 105:

The Indiana version of Rule 105 is apparently the only in the nation to use the term "admonish" rather than "instruct."...Judge Miller has opined that the distinction is intended to enable a party to request a limiting admonition at the time the evidence is offered, rather than waiting until the jury instructions....Thus, a limiting admonition under Rule 105 (usually during trial) is to be distinguished from a limiting instruction (usually after evidence has been presented).

The Court of Appeals of Indiana, however, noted that the trial court complied with this Rule because it admonished the jury before the videotape was played that, inter alia,

I need to caution you that during the interview with the defendant, the police officers made various statements and allegations. While those statements and allegations are legitimate and legally permissible during an interview, they are not evidence and are not to be considered by you as evidence.... 

Now, of course, this is not to say that other courts never or even usually wait until the close of the evidence to give limiting instructions, but other versions of Rule 105 state no timing preference, meaning that courts can wait until the close of the evidence to give such instructions. See, e.g., United States v. Bastanipour, 1993 WL 394759 at *2 n.4 (N.D.Ill. 1993).

-CM

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2011/04/in-105-webb-v-stateslip-copy-2011-wl-1379830-tableindapp2011.html

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