Summary Of 2006 Amendments

1. Summary Of 2006 Amendments

As described by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the following four amendments were transmitted by the United States Supreme Court to the Congress for final consideration under the Rules Enabling Act:

RuleSummary Of Proposed Amendment
Federal Rule of Evidence 404(a) Character Evidence Generally "Under amended Rule 404 (Character Evidence Not Admissible to Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes), evidence of a person's character is never admissible to prove conduct in a civil case. The advisory committee concluded that a clear rule is necessary to resolve a conflict in the case law and avoid the serious risks of prejudice, confusion, and delay that may arise when character evidence is used to prove that a person acted in conformity with the character trait."

Amendment text available here.
Federal Rule of Evidence 408 Compromise and Offers to Compromise "The proposed amendments to Rule 408 (Compromise and Offers to Compromise) resolve three longstanding conflicts in the courts about statements and offers made in settlement negotiations admitted as evidence of fault or used for impeachment purposes.
  • First, the proposed amendments provide that statements of fault made during the course of settlement negotiations are not barred in a subsequent criminal case. Such statements may be critical evidence of guilt. Although statements of fault are admissible in subsequent criminal litigation, an actual settlement is not admissible to prove the validity or amount of the underlying claim.
  • Second, the proposed amendments prohibit the use of statements made during settlement negotiations when offered to impeach a witness through a prior inconsistent statement or through contradiction.
  • Third, the proposed amendments bar a party from introducing its own statements and offers of compromise made during settlement negotiations."
(Not bulleted in original)

Amendment text available here.
Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) Competency of Juror as Witness: Inquiry Into Validity of Verdict or Indictment "Rule 606 (Competency of Juror as Witness) would be amended to clarify that juror testimony may be received only for very limited purposes, including to prove that the verdict reported was the result of a clerical mistake. The proposed amendment does not prevent the court from polling the jurors and taking steps to remedy any error that seems obvious when the jury is polled."

Amendment text available here.
Federal Rule of Evidence 609 Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of Crime "The proposed amendment to Rule 609 (Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of Crime) resolves a conflict among the courts about whether a particular conviction involves dishonesty or false statement that can automatically be used to impeach the witness. The proposed amendment permits automatic impeachment only when an element of the crime requires proof of deceit or if the underlying act of deceit readily can be determined from such information as the charging instrument."

Amendment text available here.
Federal Rules of Evidence