To Prove Motive
• If evidence is offered to prove motive instead of proving action in conformity with the “prior bad act,” it does not run afoul of Rule 404(b).
Advancing a contrary claim of motive
• A defendant does not need to affirmatively advance a contrary claim of motive prior to the state’s introduction of prior bad act evidence as probative of motive; rather, it is sufficient that the evidence of prior bad acts is relevant to a matter at issue, other than the defendant’s propensity to commit the charged crime.
See Iqbal v. State, 805 N.E.2d 401, 408 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004)(“Consequently, [the defendant] does not need to affirmatively advance a contrary claim of motive or absence of accident prior to the State’s introduction of prior bad act evidence. Rather, it is sufficient that the evidence of [the defendant’s] prior bad acts is relevant to a matter at issue, other than [the defendant’s] propensity to murder [the victim].”)
First prong of the test for admissibility: Relevance to some matter other than the defendant’s propensity to commit crimes
• Evidence of motive is always relevant in the proof of a crime.
• “[P]roof of the defendant’s motive to commit the charged crime lends itself to three legitimate theories of logical relevance.” 1 Edward J. Imwinkelried, Uncharged Misconduct Evidence § 5:35 (1999). “Evidence of motive may be offered to prove that the act was committed, or to prove the identity of the actor, or to prove the requisite mental state.” 22 Charles Alan Wright & Kenneth W. Graham, Jr., Federal Practice & Procedure § 5240 (1978).
• [R]emoteness in time or dissimilarity do not render 404(b) evidence per se inadmissible. Rather, the timing and similarity of the incidents are factors in the larger inquiry into whether the incidents were relevant to a matter in issue. In particular, similarity between the prior act and the charged conduct is not a major consideration when the prior act is offered to show motive . . . .
Second prong of the test for admissibility: The prejudicial effect of the evidence must not substantially outweigh its probative value
• “[E]vidence of motive is always relevant in the proof of a crime.” However, relevant evidence may nevertheless be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.