United States v. Johnson
, 62 M.J. 31 (the mere lack of money, without more, as proof of motive, has little tendency to prove that a person committed a crime; the problem with poverty evidence without more to show motive is not just that it is unfair to poor people, but that it does not prove much, because almost everyone, poor or not, has a motive to get more money; and most people, rich or poor, do not steal to get it; in short, wherever one falls on the financial spectrum, there is a critical distinction between an interest in having more money and an inclination to engage in wrongdoing to meet that interest; thus, a mere interest, unconnected with inclination, desperation, or other evidence that the person was likely to commit the crime does not add much, in most cases, to the probability that the defendant committed a crime; whatever marginal probative value impecuniosity alone may possess, there is too great a risk of raising the impermissible inference that an accused committed the offense because of his modest financial means, a description that might apply to many members of the armed forces, as well as the public at large). 

(where the moving party can demonstrate a specific relevant link to the offense in question, financial evidence may be relevant to establish motive; thus, courts have permitted financial status evidence in cases where the evidence in question reflects imminent and dire financial need, unexplained wealth, or that an accused is living beyond his means). 

(the military judge abused his discretion in admitting the accused’s bank records at trial for the purpose of showing a motive to transport and distribute drugs; the bank records did not do more than establish a poor financial position; they did not show a sudden change in financial circumstance, an imminent and extraordinary financial burden, or an accused living beyond his means;  admission of these records in the absence of other relevant circumstances to show motive tended to raise the very presumption the law seeks to preclude, namely, that those who are not well-off cannot live within a budget and that they crave money and will commit crime to obtain it; the bank records were negligibly relevant, if at all, and the probative value was outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice).  


United States v. Whitner
, 51 MJ 457 (appellant’s possession of a large number of homosexual materials in his military barracks room on the day of the offense, including some depicting acts similar to those particularly charged, reasonably suggests an emotional need for his committing the charged homosexual-related misconduct in satisfaction of that emotion).

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