Evidence Rule 609(A) Case Example

In State v. Brown, 357 N.C. 382, 584 S.E.2d 278 (2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1194, 124 S. Ct. 1447, 158 L. Ed. 2d 106 (2004), the defendant asked our Supreme Court to apply the Rule 403 balancing test to a conviction otherwise admissible under Rule 609(a). The Supreme Court declined, stating: Defendant's argument fails to take into account the clearly expressed intent of the legislature. The language of Rule 609(a) ("shall be admitted") is mandatory, leaving no room for the trial court's discretion. Moreover, while Rule 609(b) requires a balancing test of the probative value and prejudicial effect of a conviction more than ten years old, this provision is explicitly absent from Rule 609(a). Indeed, the official comments to Rule 609(a) reveal an unequivocal intention to diverge from the federal requirement of a balancing test. Id. at 390, 584 S.E.2d at 283.