2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 904. Evidence — relevancy and its limits.
904.01 Definition of “relevant evidence".

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 904.01 (2017)

904.01 Definition of “relevant evidence". “Relevant evidence" means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.

History: Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R66 (1973).

Evidence of a defendant's expenditure of money shortly after a burglary was properly admitted. State v. Heidelbach, 49 Wis. 2d 350, 182 N.W.2d 497 (1971).

The difference between relevancy and materiality is discussed. If counsel fails to state the purpose of a question objected to on grounds of immateriality, the court may exclude the evidence. State v. Becker, 51 Wis. 2d 659, 188 N.W.2d 449 (1971).

The introduction of a portion of a bloodstained mattress was both relevant and material by tending to make more probable the prosecution's claim that the victim had been with the defendant and had been molested by him. Bailey v. State, 65 Wis. 2d 331, 222 N.W.2d 871 (1974).

The most important factor in determining the admissibility of evidence of conduct prior to an accident is the degree of probability that the conduct continued until the accident occurred. Evidence of the defendant's reckless driving 12 miles from the accident scene was irrelevant. Hart v. State, 75 Wis. 2d 371, 249 N.W.2d 810 (1977).

Evidence of crop production in other years was admissible to prove damages for injury to a crop. Cutler Cranberry Co. v. Oakdale Electric Cooperative, 78 Wis. 2d 222, 254 N.W.2d 234 (1977).

A complaining witness's failure to appear to testify on 2 prior trial dates was not relevant to the credibility of the witness. Rogers v. State, 93 Wis. 2d 682, 287 N.W.2d 774 (1980).

Testimony that weapons were found at the accused's home was admissible as part of a chain of facts relevant to the accused's intent to deliver heroin. State v. Wedgeworth, 100 Wis. 2d 514, 302 N.W.2d 810 (1981).

Evidence of a defendant's prior sexual misconduct was irrelevant when the only issue in a rape case was whether the victim consented. State v. Alsteen, 108 Wis. 2d 723, 324 N.W.2d 426 (1982).

Evidence of post-manufacture industry custom was admissible under the facts of a products liability case. Evidence of a good safety record of the product was not relevant. D.L. v. Huebner, 110 Wis. 2d 581, 329 N.W.2d 890 (1983).

HLA and red blood cell test results showing the probability of exclusion and the paternity index are generally admissible in a criminal sexual assault action in which the assault allegedly resulted in the birth of a child, but the probability of paternity is not generally admissible. State v. Hartman, 145 Wis. 2d 1, 426 N.W.2d 320 (1988).

Third-party testimony corroborating the victim's testimony against one defendant was relevant as to a 2nd defendant charged with different acts when the testimony tended to lend credibility to the victim's testimony against the 2nd defendant. State v. Patricia A.M. 176 Wis. 2d 542, 500 N.W.2d 289 (1993).

Evidence of noncriminal conduct to negate the inference of criminal conduct is generally irrelevant. State v. Tabor, 191 Wis. 2d 483, 529 N.W.2d 915 (Ct. App. 1995).

Evidence of why a defendant did not testify has no bearing on guilt or innocence, is not relevant, and is inadmissible. State v. Heuer, 212 Wis. 2d 58, 567 N.W.2d 638 (Ct. App. 1997), 96-3594.

A psychologist's testimony that the defendant did not show any evidence of having a sexual disorder and that absent a sexual disorder a person is unlikely to molest a child was relevant. State v. Richard A.P. 223 Wis. 2d 777, 589 N.W.2d 674 (Ct. App. 1998), 97-2737. Reasoning adopted, State v. Davis, 2002 WI 75, 254 Wis. 2d 1, 645 N.W.2d 913, 00-2916.

A negative gunshot residue test cannot conclusively prove that a person was not the shooter of a gun, but it is relevant as it has a tendency to make it less probable. State v. DelReal, 225 Wis. 2d 565, 593 N.W.2d 461 (Ct. App.1999), 97-1480.

There is neither a blanket restriction of Richard A.P. evidence nor is it compelled. Courts must scrutinize the evidence on a case-by-case basis to assess admissibility. State v. Walters, 2004 WI 18, 269 Wis. 2d 142, 675 N.W.2d 778, 01-1916.

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