TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: September 8, 2008
RE: Rule 616, N.D.R.Ev., Bias of Witness
Attorney David Bliss in a letter dated August 18, 2008, has requested that the Committee consider adoption of a new rule of evidence on witness bias based on Minn.R.Ev. 616. A copy of the letter is attached.
Mr. Bliss points out in his letter that North Dakota has no specific rule of evidence that addresses admission of extrinsic evidence showing that witness bias, prejudice or interest.
Staff has reviewed the Committee's minutes and it appears that the Committee has never addressed the issue of whether a specific Rule of Evidence on witness bias should be adopted. There is no federal rule that specifically deals with the issue.
North Dakota has adopted three rules allowing certain types of generally excluded evidence to be used when needed prove bias: N.D.R.Ev. 408 (Compromise and Offers to Compromise), N.D.R.Ev. 411 (Liability Insurance), and N.D.R.Ev. 610 (Religious Beliefs or Opinions).
Staff has prepared a proposed new Rule of Evidence 616 on witness bias based on the Minnesota rule. A copy of the proposed new rule is attached.