Generally, the state cannot rely on a criminal defendant’s prior conviction to establish guilt for a current charge. The state can introduce evidence of previous convictions and other bad acts for other reasons, however, as long as it does not violate an evidentiary rule. Recently, a Florida court affirmed that evidence of a defendant’s prior conviction was relevant and, therefore, admissible in a matter in which it upheld the defendant’s conviction for possessing child pornography. If you are charged with possessing illegal materials of a sexual nature, it is wise to confer with a St. Petersburg sex crime defense attorney to determine your rights.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that the government charged the defendant with possession of child pornography in violation of federal law. During his trial, the government introduced evidence of the defendant’s conviction for possessing child pornography in 1995. The defendant subsequently appealed his conviction and sentence, arguing that the trial court erred in admitting such evidence.
Evidence Admissible in Criminal Trials
The trial court ruling was affirmed on appeal. The court explained that under the Federal Rules of Evidence, a court can exclude relevant evidence if its risk of causing unfair prejudice greatly overshadows its probative value. The court’s discretion to preclude evidence under the Federal Rules of Evidence is narrowly drawn, and preclusion is an extreme remedy that should be used sparingly. Continue Reading ›