This is a micro study of federalism in action. This study identifies, ranks, and evaluates the current federal and state rules regulating the same issue-whether to admit prior convictions to impeach a witness and the appropriate standards for doing so. Over the last several decades, there has been an almost unanimous chorus of criticism regarding the wholesale admission of convictions, ostensibly only to impeach, especially when prosecutors are authorized by an evidence rule to use convictions to impeach the testimony of an accused in a criminal case. Despite this criticism, this study, and a companion study of how state supreme courts interpret these rules, provide a basis for concluding that this admission avenue persists and results in the admission of, in all probability, thousands of convictions against hundreds of witnesses in the United States each year.

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