To Prove Knowledge

General rule

• Evid. R. 404(b) states that evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is inadmissible in order to show action in conformity therewith, but such evidence may be admitted to prove, inter alia, knowledge . . . .

Fuller v. State, 674 N.E.2d 576, 578 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996)

• Such evidence most commonly is used to rebut the possibility that the defendant was unaware that a criminal act was being committed.

See Fuller v. State, 674 N.E.2d 576, 578 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996)

See, e.g., Johnson v. State, 785 N.E.2d 1134, 1140 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003), trans. denied(“In addition, the testimony from C.B. and T.D. concerning their confrontations with [the defendant] was admissible under the knowledge exception listed in Rule 404(b) to establish [the defendant's] knowledge of his HIV status. Evidence of the HIV status of [the defendant's] sexual partners as well as his knowledge of their HIV status and his own status was highly probative and relevant as to whether he is HIV-positive and knew that he was positive at the time he engaged in sexual relationships with L.W. and K.J.”)

First prong of the test for admissibility: Relevance to some matter other than the defendant’s propensity to commit crimes

• For the evidence to be admissible, the defendant’s knowledge must be relevant to the charge, though not necessarily an element of the charge; knowledge rarely will be an element in crimes of violence unless a conspiracy or confederacy is involved.

See 2 Wigmore § 300 (Chadbourn rev. 1979)