Post-Fight Evidence Gets Green Light in Florida Battery Case

Florida battery and other criminal cases often come largely down to one person’s version of the events against another person’s version. Witness and victim testimony is crucial in these cases. There are, however, a number of evidence rules that may limit the type of testimony that actually gets to a jury. The state’s Fourth District Court of Appeal recently explained that evidence about what happens after an alleged crime, for example, may not be relevant to the case. That’s unless the evidence is “inextricably intertwined” to the supposed crime itself.A defendant was charged with battery following an incident in which he allegedly tried to strangle his daughter. The father and daughter were arguing in their home, the court said, when the daughter retreated to her bedroom with her small child. The defendant followed and pushed his daughter onto the bed, according to the court. He then allegedly held his daughter by the throat for about 30 seconds, after another family member took the child. The daughter then left the home and called the police.

The daughter testified in a deposition that many of her personal belongings were smashed and scattered on the floor when she later returned to the room. Prosecutors introduced that testimony as evidence at trial. Although the defendant’s lawyer argued that the aftermath of the incident was not relevant to the question of whether the battery occurred, a trial judge allowed the deposition testimony to be introduced. The defendant was eventually convicted of battery by strangulation.

The Fourth District said on appeal that the judge didn’t abuse his discretion in allowing the evidence. “Evidence is admissible as inextricably intertwined if it is necessary to adequately describe the charged crime, provide an intelligent account of the charged crime, establish the context out of which the charged crime arose, or adequately describe events leading up to the charged crime,” the court explained. It cited a 2011 decision in which the Fourth District allowed evidence of an unrelated shooting in a case against a person charged with fleeing the police.

In the current case, the court said the daughter’s testimony about the state of her room was inextricably intertwined with the alleged altercation between the defendant and his daughter. She returned to find her personal belongings had been smashed in an apparent fit of rage. That tended to show the defendant’s mindset directly after the fight, according to the court.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Florida, it is essential that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced defense lawyer. Clearwater assault defense attorney Will Hanlon is a seasoned lawyer who fights aggressively on behalf of clients charged with a wide range of offenses. Call our offices at (727) 897-5413 or contact us online to speak with Mr. Hanlon about your case.

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