Admitting Character Evidence in Jacksonville Jury Trials

In a Jacksonville criminal jury trial, a Jacksonville criminal defendant’s prior crimes or wrong-doings usually cannot be used against him or her. The State Attorney cannot present evidence tending to show a Jacksonville criminal defendant’s bad character if he or she is using the evidence to prove that the criminal defendant acted in conformity with his bad character on a particular occassion.

Section 90.404(2)(a), Florida Evidence Code, governs the admissibilty of a criminal defendant’s character evidence. Normally, evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is inadmissible, but it is admissible if is is “relevant to prove a material fact in issue, including, but not limited to, proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.” This is known as Florida’s Williams Rule.

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