Seventh Circuit Review


In July 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit explicitly abolished the long-standing doctrine of inextricable intertwinement as a basis of admissibility for other bad acts evidence. The court held in United States v. Gorman that the doctrine had "become overused, vague, and quite unhelpful" and as such, "has outlived its usefulness." The court eliminated this basis of admissibility in favor of the exclusive use of Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). Although the two bases have different origins and initial purposes, by virtue of confusion and realities of the judicial system, the bases have come to encompass the same situations. With improper use of the inextricable intertwinement doctrine threatening defendants' due process and double jeopardy rights, the Seventh Circuit took much-needed steps to safeguard defendants and effectuate the protections for which Rule 404(b) was originally enacted by eliminating the inextricable intertwinement doctrine.

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