This Note seeks to address both the potential constitutional consequences of the newly passed Federal Rules of Evidence 413 and 414 and the problems that these revisions were designed to remedy. Section II will introduce the history of the passage of these controversial revisions as primarily a political process and one which bypassed the standard rules of practice. Section III will address the procedural violations and the troubling inconsistency of the new rules with the federal courts' interpretation of the other Federal Rules of Evidence. Section IV of this Note will address the substantive constitutional issues presented by these amendments, including: violation of due process, violation of double jeopardy protection, Eighth Amendment violation for punishment on the basis of status, and violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Section V will address the countervailing needs for the new rules, including the increasing rate of violence towards women and children and the inadequacy of the criminal justice system to confront these challenges, and will conclude with a proposal for revisions to the new rules which seek to avoid any constitutional infirmity.


1996 John M. Manos Writing Competition on Evidence