Rule 101. Scope; Definitions
(a) Scope. These rules apply to proceedings in United States courts. The specific courts and proceedings to which the rules apply, along with exceptions, are set out in Rule 1101.
In these rules (1) “civil case” means a civil action or proceeding; (2) “criminal case” includes a criminal proceeding; (3) “public office” includes a public agency; (4) “record” includes a memorandum, report, or data compilation; (5) a “rule prescribed by the Supreme Court” means a rule adopted by the Supreme Court under statutory authority; and (6) a reference to any kind of written material or any other medium includes
electronically stored information.
Rule 102. Purpose
These rules should be construed so as to administer every proceeding fairly, eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay, and promote the development of evidence law, to the end of ascertaining the truth and securing a just determination.
Rule 103. Rulings on Evidence
(a) Preserving a Claim of Error. A party may claim error in a ruling to admit or exclude evidence only if the error affects a substantial right of the party and: (1) if the ruling admits evidence, a party, on the record: (A) timely objects or moves to strike; and (B) states the specific ground, unless it was apparent from the context; or (2) if the ruling excludes evidence, a party informs the court of its substance by an offer of proof, unless the substance was apparent from the context.
(b) Not Needing to Renew an Objection or Offer of Proof. Once the court rules definitively on the record — either before
or at trial — a party need not renew an objection or offer of proof to preserve
a claim of error for appeal.
(c) Court’s Statement About the Ruling; Directing an Offer of Proof. The court may make any statement about the character or form of the evidence, the objection made, and the ruling. The court may direct that an offer of proof be made in question-and-answer form.
(d) Preventing the Jury from Hearing Inadmissible Evidence. To the extent practicable, the court must conduct a jury trial
so that inadmissible evidence is not suggested to the jury by any means.
(e) Taking Notice of Plain Error. A court may take notice of a plain error affecting a
substantial right, even if the claim of error was not properly preserved.
Rule 104. Preliminary Questions
(a) In General. The court must decide any preliminary question about whether a witness is
qualified, a privilege exists, or evidence is admissible. In so deciding, the court is not bound by evidence rules, except those on privilege.
(b) Relevance That Depends on a Fact. When the relevance of evidence depends on whether a fact exists, proof must be introduced sufficient to support a finding that the fact does exist. The court may admit the proposed evidence on the condition that the proof be introduced later.
(c) Conducting a Hearing So That the Jury Cannot Hear It. The court must conduct any hearing on a preliminary question so that the jury cannot hear it if: (1) the hearing involves the admissibility of a confession; (2) a defendant in a criminal case is a witness and so requests; or (3) justice so requires.
(d) Cross-Examining a Defendant in a Criminal Case. By testifying on a preliminary question, a defendant in a
criminal case does not become subject to cross-examination on other issues in the case.
(e) Evidence Relevant to Weight and Credibility. This rule does not limit a party’s right to introduce before the jury evidence that is relevant to the weight or credibility of other evidence.
Rule 105. Limiting Evidence That Is Not Admissible Against Other Parties or for Other Purposes
If the court admits evidence that is admissible against a party or for a purpose — but not against another party or for another purpose — the court, on timely request, must restrict the evidence to its proper scope and instruct the jury accordingly.
Rule 106. Remainder of or Related Writings or Recorded Statements
If a party introduces all or part of a writing or recorded statement, an adverse party may require the introduction, at that time, of any other part — or any other writing or recorded statement — that in fairness ought to be considered at the same time.
Court House Videos