California Evidence Code Section 1101(B) - Interpretation
In People v. Ewoldt (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 380 27 Cal. Rptr. 2d 646, 867 P.2d 757 (Ewoldt), the court explained that the admissibility of evidence pursuant to Evidence Code section 1101, subdivision (b) depends on the degree of similarity between the uncharged act and the charged offense.
It explained the standards for admissibility of evidence to prove intent as follows:
"The least degree of similarity (between the uncharged act and the charged offense) is required in order to prove intent. . . . 'The recurrence of a similar result . . . tends (increasingly with each instance) to negative accident or inadvertence or self-defense or good faith or other innocent mental state, and tends to establish (provisionally, at least, though not certainly) the presence of the normal, i.e., criminal, intent accompanying such an act . . . .' In order to be admissible to prove intent, the uncharged misconduct must be sufficiently similar to support the inference that the defendant ' "probably harbored the same intent in each instance." . . .' " (7 Cal. 4th at p. 402.) In People v. Ewoldt (1994) the California Supreme Court interpreted Evidence Code section 1101, subdivision (b) at length. Ewoldt reasoned that the least degree of similarity between the uncharged and charged offenses is required to prove intent. (Ewoldt, supra, at p. 402.)
The uncharged misconduct need only be sufficiently similar to support an inference that the defendant probably had the same intent on each occasion. (Ibid.)