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Copyright (c) 2011 University of Oregon
Oregon Law Review

Article: Should Oregon Adopt the New Federal Rules of Evidence?


Oregon Law Review

89 Or. L. Rev. 1407




In recent years, a growing number of states have restructured their evidence codes to emulate the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). 1 When Illinois adopted the federal model for the first time in the fall of 2010, 2 the total number of states following the basic structure of the FRE increased to forty-three. 3 Only California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Virginia have organized their evidence rules in a manner distinct from the basic framework of the FRE. 4

Typically states borrow about ninety percent of the language in the FRE. 5 These states follow the macro-level structure of the FRE, but they adapt individual rules to suit local preferences. 6 In Oregon, approximately twenty-four individual rules depart significantly from their federal counterparts. 7 The similarities between the Oregon Evidence Code (OEC) and the FRE are more noteworthy than the differences. 8 Indeed, the appellate courts in Oregon rely extensively on federal court decisions as persuasive authority in interpreting the OEC. 9

The trend toward uniformity in state evidence codes will likely build momentum if the U.S. Supreme Court approves the "restyled" version of the FRE as expected in May 2011. 10 This approval will culminate a five-year effort to simplify the FRE without changing the substantive meaning of the rules. 11 The restyled FRE will provide a more attractive template for the states, and it may help to win over converts among state legislators ...
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