California Landmark Cases on Relevance of Evidence

"No evidence is admissible except relevant evidence." (Evid. Code, 350.) "'Relevant evidence' means evidence ... having any tendency in reason to prove or disprove any disputed fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action." (Evid. Code, 210.) "The test of relevance is whether the evidence tends '"logically, naturally, and by reasonable inference" to establish material facts ... .'" (People v. Scheid (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1, 13.) A trial court "is vested with wide discretion in determining the relevance of evidence," but it has "no discretion to admit irrelevant evidence." (People v. Babbitt (1998) 45 Cal.3d 660, 681.) But even when evidence is relevant, a trial court may exclude it pursuant to Evidence Code section 352. Under that section, a trial court is vested with discretion to exclude relevant evidence when "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." (Evid. Code, 352.) A trial court's exercise of discretion under Evidence Code section 352 is reviewed under the abuse of discretion standard, and will not be disturbed on appeal except upon the objecting party's showing that the trial court exercised its discretion in an arbitrary, capricious, or patently absurd manner. (People v. Brown (2003) 31 Cal.4th 518, 534.)