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1.8 Evidence for Limited Purpose

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Some evidence may be admitted for a limited purpose only.

When I instruct you that an item of evidence has been admitted for a limited purpose, you must consider it only for that limited purpose and for no other.

[The testimony [you are about to hear] [you have just heard] may be considered only for the limited purpose of [describe purpose] and for no other purpose.]


As a rule, limiting instructions need only be given when requested and need not be given sua sponte by the court. United States v. McLennan, 563 F.2d 943, 947–48 (9th Cir.1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 969 (1978).

See United States v. Marsh, 144 F.3d 1229, 1238 (9th Cir.) (when the trial court fails to instruct the jury in its final instructions regarding the receipt of evidence for a limited purpose, the Ninth Circuit examines the trial court’s preliminary instructions to determine if the court instructed the jury on this issue), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 973 (1998).

See also Instructions 1.7 (What is Not Evidence) and 2.8 (Impeachment Evidence—Witness).