Seeing as the California Bar Exam, and probably countless other bar examinations, are taking place this week, and after being able to blog about res judicata, I thought it was only fitting to delve into some of the other trickier areas of the law that are sometimes tested on the Bar.

The "other" Proposition 8 is a series of related criminal and evidence laws. The proposition was passed by means of a voter initiative in 1982, as an amendment to the constitution, and later codified into related statutes, in response to a perceived need for a victim's bill of rights. It has also been amended and added to substantially, by a law called Marsy's Law, passed in 2008.

The bulk of the law that can be probed on the Bar Exam deals with the "truth in evidence" components. It starts out stating that all relevant evidence is admissible. It is further qualified by the following, found in Section 352:

The court in its discretion may exclude evidence if its
probative value is substantially outweighed by the probability that
its admission will (a) necessitate undue consumption of time or (b)
create substantial danger of undue prejudice, of confusing the
issues, or of misleading the jury.

Thus, while it is tempered by undue prejudice and time restraints, almost anything can be used as evidence in a criminal case. This is remarkable, because in federal cases, there are many things excluded from criminal cases. In addition to the general type of evidence, there are also special rules for character evidence, which in federal cases is almost never admissible, unless a defendant opens the door to the issue.

As I had to wipe away the cobwebs in my brain on this one, I am certain that there are details and nuances that I am not capturing here. California Evidence is in fact a separate class from that on Federal Evidence, meaning that future lawyers study it for months wholly aside from actually using it in practice.

This only reinforces the importance of having a knowledgeable and qualified attorney who deals with these intricate evidentiary issues on a daily basis.

In any case, there you have a basic introduction to California's other Proposition 8.

Click to learn more about Criminal Law, or to find a qualified Criminal Law Attorney.