Rule 404(A)(2) - Admissibility of Evidence That Victim Was the Initial Aggressor

In Arizona, as well as the majority of jurisdictions with similar evidentiary rules, a defendant may not introduce evidence of specific acts unknown to the defendant at the time of the alleged crime to show that the victim was the initial aggressor. While there are strong policy arguments supporting that rule and strong arguments for giving trial court judges greater discretion in permitting such evidence, those arguments are best made to the Arizona Supreme Court as to whether to amend the rules of evidence. Accordingly, the superior court properly excluded the specific act evidence for the purpose of showing the Victim was the initial aggressor under Rule 404(a)(2).