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Thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.
"Does evidence code section 1151 bar admission of evidence of subsequent remedial measures in a criminal case where the negligence at issue is not that of the party that instituted the measures?" Yes. Here are the reasons behind my answer. An action, for this purpose, refers to both civil and criminal cases. Furthermore, the traditional rule of strict construction is not applicable to this statutory provision. California Evidence Code § 105. Furthermore, the traditional rule of strict construction is not applicable to this statutory provision. California Evidence Code § 2. Additionally, the plain language of the provision focuses on the conduct (negligence or culpability) rather than the actor (defendant or third party). California Evidence Code § 1151. Finally, the very terms point to broad admissibility in civil and criminal cases (negligence = civil; culpability = criminal). The entire scheme of the evidentiary law would be frustrated were the answer to your question in the negative rather than in the affirmative.
I hope that makes sense, but please do not hesitate to write back if needed. I shall be signing off soon to attend to some other professional obligations. Please rest assured, however, that I will be sure to check for any updated posts from you when I return to this online forum. I hope all works out for you.
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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.
NOTE: My apologies for a technical issue that seems to be removing my original spacing. If the text of my message appears difficult to read and/or random numbers appear to have been inserted, I am sorry for any inconvenience. I have submitted a report to our system for handling. Thanks for your patience!
Hello again Counselor,
Thanks for writing back -- good to hear from you. I did not initially realize you were a attorney, so it is always an honor to have a fellow member of the Bar entrust an inquiry to me.
I do ask that you kindly press "Accept" to process my answer.
I will be glad to comment further -- please see below.
Yes, even in light of the additional fact pattern you have shared, I regret to say my answer remains unchanged. There are some strong public policy considerations at stake, and the "subsequent remedial measures" doctrine has become firmly established over the years. I am sorry to say that I would predict the Judge will side with the prosecution on this point. That being said, were I in your shoes I would be framing my argument around Constitutional grounds. More specifically, I would be making loud noises about the Due Process implications of allowing what without argument arose as a civil law device to prejudice your client's case. I think that a basic argument along the lines of..."A rule of evidence designed to encourage airlines and manufactures to act in a societally responsible manner should not be perverted to tie our hands at trial."
This is a very interesting case...I would be interested to learn the ultimate outcome on this point.
I hope that helps a bit more and that things work out properly for your client in this matter.
Take care and thanks again for choosing JustAnswer®!
[Please click "Accept" -- this is the only way I get paid for my work and services provided.]
NOTE: My apologies for a technical issue that seems to be removing my original spacing. If the text of my message appears difficult to read, I am sorry for any inconvenience. I have submitted a report to our system for handling. Thanks for your patience!
Thanks for writing back -- good to hear from you.
You are quite welcome -- my pleasure to have been of service!
Many thanks for your payment and especially your kind words -- greatly appreciated!
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