It appears that the movement to codify a set of Virginia Rules of Evidence has stalled. Virginia is one of the only states that does not maintain a set of rules. Instead, Virginia evidence law is basically a hodge podge of of
and case law. On the other hand, most states maintain a set of rules that are derived from the Federal Rules of Evidence
. Over the last several years, there have been suggestions to create a more organized and systemmatic set of Virginia Rules of Evidence.
Why the resistance? For starters, it takes Virginia lawyers years (if ever) to learn the relevant statutes and case law that govern evidentiary issues in Virginia. If the rules were codified, there is a good chance that this hard earned knowledge would be obsolete. Also, questions arise whether Virginia's case law on evidentiary issues would go out the window, and instead the Virginia courts would look to the developed case law in federal courts when interpreting Virginia Evidentiary Rules (which would likely borrow from the Federal Rules).
In the end, it makes a lot more sense to have a codified set of evidentiary rules. A codified set of rules would improve consistency and predictibility in evidentiary rulings throughout the Commonwealth.
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