9th Circuit Makes Questionable Evidentiary Ruling
The district court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of Willis’ marijuana use. Defendants presented no evidence indicating that Willis had consumed marijuana in the 72 hours before the shooting and no evidence linking Willis’ marijuana use to his disputed behavior. The error in admitting this evidence, however, was harmless. Because defendants presented no evidence of a causal relationship between Willis’ marijuana use and his behavior on the night in question, no reasonable probability exists that the jury relied on this evidence in finding Willis 80% contributorily negligent.
Criticism: One thing that bothers me in a lot of legal cases is when courts effectively require a party to prove a thing that seems likely on its face, but would be impossible to prove by any evidence that might possibly be collected by any reasonable and/or legal methods of evidence collection. The above quote is an example of this problem. How would the plaintiffs obtain evidence showing that the jury considered the inadmissible evidence of non-temporally proximate mj use in coming up with its contributory negligence figures? Even if plaintiff could subpoena the jurors, I don’t think they would get, or could compell, any answers on this issue from the jurors.