The time has come to bridge the gap between following the rules of evidence and serving justice for victims of domestic violence. I propose that the best way to accomplish this goal is to create a specialized evidentiary rule for the admissibility of uncharged offenses of domestic violence in domestic violence prosecutions.4 The proposed evidentiary rule is based on the new Federal Rules of Evidence 413- 414, which accomplish the same for victims of rape and sexual molestation.
First, in order to give the reader an understanding of the need for this legislation, I will discuss the difficulties that prosecutors face when they are prosecuting domestic violence cases. Second, I will explain the inadequacy of the current scheme of admissibility for admitting uncharged acts of domestic violence in domestic violence prosecutions. Third, I will review the recent changes in the federal law regarding sexual assault cases. I will address both the proponents' and critics' arguments. Finally, I will propose a similar approach for domestic violence cases. I will offer arguments in favor of such a solution and will also address likely criticisms.
Lisa Marie De Sanctis, Bridging the Gap Between the Rules of Evidence and Justice for Victims of Domestic Violence, 8 Yale J.L. & Feminism 359 (1996)