Citation. 931 F. Supp. 733 (D. Nev. 1996)
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Brief Fact Summary.
The plaintiff and defendant were in a traffic accident. The plaintiff admitted a record of the defendant’s misdemeanor conviction for failure to use due care in operation of his vehicle.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A record of a misdemeanor conviction is not admissible under the Federal Rule of Evidence (“FRE”) Rule 802 because it is not a felony, but it could still be admitted under FRE Rule 803(8) as a public record.
The defendant was cited for failure to use due care in operating his vehicle right before he was in a traffic accident with the plaintiff. The plaintiff wanted to introduce the conviction record to prove the defendant’s negligence.
Whether a misdemeanor conviction can be admitted as evidence?
The misdemeanor conviction can be admitted as evidence as a public record. In this case, it is admissible under FRE Rule 803(8) as a public record, or it is admissible under state law evidentiary rules.
FRE Rule 802 restricts non-felony convictions because they are less reliable. Parties are not as motivated to prove their innocence to the extent they would if it was a felony. The point is moot if the court allows the misdemeanor under the public records exception.