Approximately two years ago, I began researching the area of the -admissibility of uncharged act evidence in domestic violence prosecutions. I found the state of the law to be less than satisfying. At that time, Federal Rules of Evidence 413-415, dealing with uncharged act evidence in sexual assault and molestation cases, had just been passed by Congress, and were being considered by the Judicial Conference. Excited by the approach taken at the federal level, I set out to make a similar change in domestic violence prosecutions. Living and working in California, I decided to focus on California, in hopes that if I was successful, other states would soon follow suit. I drafted proposed legislation for California that would allow into evidence uncharged acts of domestic violence in domestic violence prosecutions. I modeled my proposal on the approach taken at the federal level with respect to sexual assault and child molestation. I also analyzed the criticisms of the federal approach in order to develop the best proposal possible. In January of 1996, I completed my proposal and began searching for both a California legislator who would author it as a 1996 bill and organizations to support the proposal. I soon joined forces with the California Alliance Against Domestic Violence, a statewide, grassroots coalition representing the interests of battered women and their children. The Alliance was already considering sponsoring a bill, Senate Bill 1876, that proposed to broaden California Evidence Code section 1101 (b).
Lisa M. De Sanctis,
Bridging the Gap Between the Rules of Evidence andJustice for Victims of Domestic Violence,
Yale J.L. & Feminism
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlf/vol8/iss2/5