Conditional Probative Value and the Reconstruction of the Federal Rules of Evidence

In a recent article, Richard Friedman articulates a modified and generalized version of the doctrine of conditional relevance, which he calls “conditional probative value.” This version comes in response to a substantial body of academic criticism of the traditional doctrine. As one of the critics to whom Professor Friedman responds, I offer this reply with two purposes in mind: (1) to clarify the relationship between Friedman’s analysis and my earlier reinterpretation of the conditional relevance doctrine; and (2) to address Friedman’s specific proposals with regard to the Federal Rules of Evidence. I conclude that Friedman’s articulation helps clarify the logic of proof in certain contexts, but I take issue with his suggestions for amending the Federal Rules.