Military Rule of Evidence – MRE 413 & 414 Evidence of Similar Crimes in Sexual Assault & Child Molestation Cases

Background

  1. courtmartialattorneys79071205Rules 413 and 414 state that the accused’s commissions of one or more offenses of [sexual assault/child molestation] are admissible and were written to overcome the procedural bar on introducing former criminal acts according to Rules 404 (a) and (b). These rule reject the tradition of barring evidence showing there was a propensity to commit a crime and were based on three main criticisms to the bar of such evidence under rule 404(b): Rule 404(b) requires trial counsel to verbalize a purpose besides propensity to commit the sexual assault/child molestation; the military judge always has discretion under rule 403 to exclude the evidence; and limiting instructions from military judges kept the government from using evidence of past sexual offenses to show a propensity to commit similar acts.
  2. Rule 413 and 414 were decided upon by Congress as part of the Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act of 1994 and later adopted under the MRE. The intention behind the law was to allow evidence of an accused’s propensity to commit sexual offenses based on their past

Child Molestation Cases