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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Conroe Criminal Defense Lawyer - Rules of Evidence Series RULE 102

Updated: May 31, 2023

Conroe Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Foley discusses Texas Rule of Evidence 102

The Texas rules of evidence series continues today with rule 102. Rule 102 is almost never cited and is more like a mission statement than a rule. However it could come in handy if you are arguing a point on evidence to a trial judge and it is a close call. The rule basically tells the judge how to consider the other rules when making a tough decision. Under Rule 102 a trial judge should construe any other applicable rule so as to "administer every proceeding fairly . . . ."

Now most lawyers know not to simply say to the Judge, "That's not fair!" That isn't going to get you anywhere. In fact it will probably compromise your position on the law. A good lawyer will say it like this, "Judge to allow (or exclude) this type of evidence would be against the interest of justice and public policy." That sounds just a little better.

The Trial judge is also informed that she should eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay. This portion of the rule more practicably applies to civil proceedings which can drag on for weeks or months and culminate in mountains of paperwork and reports. Criminal defendants are almost never told that they are unable to present evidence because of unjustifiable expense or delay. In fact if a Trial Judge limits a defendant's ability to present evidence in his defense the Judge risks having the case overturned on appeal for violation of the defendant's due process rights under the Texas and United States Constitution.

Finally Rule 102 asks the Trial Judge to construe other rules with the end of ascertaining the truth and securing a just determination. This is aspirational language and really has no weight that can be used in a practical sense during a jury trial. The best practical application of Rule 102 would be as an add on at the end of an argument that was nearly successful and the Judge just needs a little extra help getting past the finish line to a favorable ruling.

Rule 102. Purpose These rules should be construed so as to administer every proceeding fairly, eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay, and promote the development of evidence law, to the end of ascertaining the truth and securing a just determination.

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