Inextricably Intertwined Evidence


Prosecutor's often use something called "inextricably intertwined" evidence.  For example, if someone charged with the crime of rape steals jewelry from his victim after raping her, evidence of that theft is often presented to a jury even though the person on trial has not been formally charged with theft.


This often-used practice of prosecutors has gone largely unchallenged for as long as anyone can remember.  But recently some courts have started to question whether prosecutors should be allowed to present inextricably intertwined evidence to juries.


For example, in the case of the United States versus Jamarkus Gorman, the court stated:



"We have recently cast doubt on the continuing viability of the inextricable intertwinement doctrine, finding that because almost all evidence admitted under this doctrine is also admissible under Rule 404(b), there is often no need to spread the fog of inextricably intertwined over it.  We again reiterate our doubts about the usefulness of the inextricable intertwinement doctrine, and again emphasize that direct evidence need not be admitted under this doctrine. If evidence is not direct evidence of the crime itself, it is usually propensity evidence simply disguised as inextricable intertwinement evidence, and is therefore improper, at least if not admitted under the constraints of Rule 404(b)."



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