Federal Rules of Evidence – Rule 105 (through December 1, 2015)

Crushed Rule

The court may (and sometimes must) limit the scope of the admission of some evidence to a purpose or party. When that happens, you can timely request the judge to instruct the jury to only use the evidence in its proper scope.

Actual Rule

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.

Selected Committee Notes 

A close relationship exists between this rule and Rule 403 which requires exclusion when “probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury.” The present rule recognizes the practice of admitting evidence for a limited purpose and instructing the jury accordingly. The availability and effectiveness of this practice must be taken into consideration in reaching a decision whether to exclude for unfair prejudice under Rule 403. In Bruton v. United States, 389 U.S. 818, 88 S.Ct. 126, 19 L.Ed.2d 70 (1968), the Court ruled that a limiting instruction did not effectively protect the accused against the prejudicial effect of admitting in evidence the confession of a codefendant which implicated him. The decision does not, however, bar the use of limited admissibility with an instruction where the risk of prejudice is less serious.

Similar provisions are found in Uniform Rule 6; California Evidence Code §355; Kansas Code of Civil Procedure §60–406; New Jersey Evidence Rule 6. The wording of the present rule differs, however, in repelling any implication that limiting or curative instructions are sufficient in all situations.

Key Rules (MBE/MEE)