A Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer, Christopher D. Walsh, was recently quoted in a news article in the Tampa Bay Times regarding the Florida Evidentiary Standard. More specifically, regarding the Williams rule as it pertains to prior bad acts.
The Article can be read at “Will Pasco jurors hear about murder in defendant’s past?” written by Lisa Buie, a Times Staff Writer.
The general rule of Florida Evidence is evidence relating to the Defendant’s prior bad acts (i.e. crimes or wrongful conduct) is not admissible. However, under the Williams rule such evidence is admissible if relevant to prove a material fact in issue. A material fact can be described as a motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, identity, or the absence of a mistake or accident. Additionally, a prosecutor cannot bring in evidence relating to a Defendant’s bad character, unless the Defendant first “opens the door.” Basically, a prosecutor cannot present evidence of the Defendants bad character before the Defendant takes the stand and testifies to his “good” character.
The Florida rules of evidence are a complex and complicated set of rules. But, as a Criminal Defense Lawyer I understand the Rules of Evidence and can make sure your rights are being protected through out the legal process. Therefore, if you are facing a Florida Criminal Defense Charge, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer to review your case and make the proper determinations in proceeding forward.