Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


Previous surveys have addressed the trend--or at least what the author perceives to be the trend--of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in recent years to defer to district court judges' evidentiary decisions. This recent trend can be contrasted with the activism displayed by Eleventh Circuit judges in decisions discussed in earlier survey articles. The effects of this more recent trend are fewer cases in which the Eleventh Circuit devotes extensive examination of evidentiary issues and, when evidentiary issues are addressed, marked deference to district court judges. Although this trend appeared to continue during the current survey period, two decisions stand in contrast. The Eleventh Circuit's Rule 404(b) analysis in United States v. Utter, recalls the days when the Eleventh Circuit frequently, and seemingly routinely, reversed convictions because of the improper admission of Rule 404(b) evidence. In Joiner v. General Electric Co., the Eleventh Circuit intensively scrutinized a district court's reasons for excluding expert testimony pursuant to the Supreme Court's recent decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and concluded that this reasoning did not pass muster.