Generally, the law precludes Florida courts from introducing evidence of a defendant’s prior misdeeds in order to establish their guilt. They can offer such evidence to the judge or jury for other reasons, though, as long as it does not become a central feature of the case. In a recent Florida opinion, the court discussed the factors that weigh into whether evidence of prior bad behavior should be admitted at trial in a sexual battery case in which it ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal. If you are accused of committing a sex crime, it is smart to confer with a Clearwater sex crime defense attorney about your rights.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the state charged the defendant with sexual battery of a child under the age of 12. During the trial, the prosecution presented witnesses who testified that the defendant sexually abused them when they were between 6 and 8 years old, which was similar to his alleged sexual abuse of the victim in the subject case. The jury convicted the defendant. The defendant then filed an appeal.
Admission of Prior Bad Act Evidence
On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred in permitting the prosecution to introduce evidence of his prior wrongs or acts of child molestation. The court disagreed and affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, the court explained that although some of the prior bad acts happened several years before the subject offense, that is merely one factor for the courts to consider when weighing whether to admit such evidence.