RULE 403. EXCLUSION OF RELEVANT EVIDENCEON GROUNDS OF PREJUDICE, CONFUSION, OR WASTE OF TIME
Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
Rule 403 is an adaptation of Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. It does not change North Dakota law, but rather codifies it. Evidence has been traditionally excluded on grounds of remoteness, see, e.g., In re Graf's Estate, 119 N.W.2d 478 (N.D. 1963), and on grounds that its probative value is not commensurate with the time required for its use as evidence. See Jones v. Boeing Company, 153 N.W.2d 897 (N.D. 1967). The rule vests wide discretion in the trial court to control the introduction of evidence.
It should be noted that surprise is not listed as a ground for exclusion. It has been stated that granting a continuance is the proper remedy for unfair surprise. See Advisory Committee's Note to Rule 403, FRE.
SOURCES: Minutes of Joint Procedure Committee: April 8, 1976, page 20; October 1, 1975, page 3. Rule 403, Federal Rules of Evidence; Rule 403, SBAND proposal.