TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
RE: Rule 609, N.D.R.Ev., Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of Crime
The U.S. Supreme Court has approved amendments to Fed.R.Ev. 609 and they will take effect December 1 unless Congress intervenes. Proposed amendments to Rule 609 have therefore been prepared for consideration by the Committee.
Under the proposed amendment, the language concerning admission of evidence related to crimes involving dishonesty or false statement would be revised. The revision is intended to clarify when a crime is considered to involve dishonesty or false statement. The revised language would require the court to look to the elements of the crime to determine whether the crime involved dishonesty or false statement.
The proposed amendment seems consistent with the reasoning of the Supreme Court on this issue. In State v. Eugene, 536 N.W.2d 692 (N.D. 1995), the court said that a crime involving dishonesty or false statement is one "that bears directly upon the accused's propensity to testify truthfully" and that "[t]he prior crime must involve deception or misrepresentation, or carry with it a tinge of falsification."
Amendments are also proposed for the explanatory note. The proposed amendments explain the changes to the rule and also update the content of the explanatory note.
A rule draft containing the proposed amendments is attached.