It is not uncommon for a person facing criminal charges to have a history of prior criminal activity. In the interest of providing all criminal defendants with a fair trial, however, the State typically must refrain from introducing evidence of prior crimes at trial. There are certain exceptions when evidence of prior bad acts is admissible, though, as discussed in a recent case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for drug charges. If you are charged with distributing narcotics or any other drug-related offense, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable Clearwater drug crime defense attorney to help you fight to protect your rights.
The Defendant’s Charges and Trial
It is reported that the defendant was charged with multiple drug crimes. During the trial, the prosecution referenced the defendant’s alleged use of a fake identity to rent an apartment during its opening statement. The jury ultimately convicted the defendant as charged, after which the defendant moved for a mistrial on multiple grounds, including the fact that the trial court permitted the prosecution to mention crimes the defendant allegedly committed but for which he was not charged. The trial court denied the defendant’s motions, after which he appealed. On appeal, the trial court’s ruling was affirmed.
Evidence of Prior Bad Acts
Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, evidence regarding wrongs, bad acts, or other crimes that are introduced to demonstrate a person’s character for the purpose of proving that the person acted in accordance with that character on a particular occasion is inadmissible. Florida courts interpreting this exclusionary rule, however, have repeatedly held that evidence of criminal acts other than the charged offense may be admissible if it constitutes intrinsic evidence that is outside of the scope of the rule.