Prior Crimes Evidence Cases In California
People v. Falsetta pointed out that a jury "could use the evidence of prior sex crimes to find that defendant had a propensity to commit such crimes, which in turn may show that he committed the charged offenses." ( People v. Falsetta, supra, 21 Cal. 4th at p. 923.) " 'the admission of evidence of the uncharged sex offense may have added to the evidence the jury could consider as to the defendant's guilt' " on the currently charged sex offense. ( Id. at p. 920.)
"Any unfairness resulting from admitting prior convictions was more often than not balanced by its probative value and permitted the prosecution to introduce such evidence without demanding any particularly strong justification." ( Marshall v. Lonberger, supra, 459 U.S. at pp. 438-439, fn. 6 103 S. Ct. at p. 853.)
The court in Marshall also observed that "the Due Process Clause does not permit the federal courts to engage in a finely tuned review of the wisdom of state evidentiary rules." ( Id. at p. 438, fn. 6 103 S. Ct. at p. 853.)
In Estelle v. McGuire (1991) the court stated "we express no opinion on whether a state law would violate the Due Process Clause if it permitted the use of 'prior crimes' evidence to show propensity to commit a charged crime." ( Estelle v. McGuire, supra, 502 U.S. at p. 75, fn. 5 112 S. Ct. at p. 484.)
The Old Chief v. United States (1997) case involved an interpretation of rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (28 U.S.C.). It does not purport to state any constitutional prohibition against the use of propensity evidence.