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Whether the judge will allow the prosecution or defense to present their evidence depends on a long list of determinations the court must make.

  • Is it relevant, i.e., does it have a bearing on the case?
  • Is it material?
  • Was it legally obtained?
  • If it is prosecution evidence, is the defendant aware of it?
  • Has a proper chain of custody been established?
  • Is it prejudicial or unfair to the defendant?
  • Will the jury be misled or confused?
  • Is the evidence more of the same, or cumulative?

Additionally, evidence can be admitted for limited use only. For example, evidence of a prior crime committed by the defendant might be limited to proving the defendant's identity only and not that he committed the present crime.