Can you admit evidence of a party’s prior bad acts in a criminal trial?
There are all types of evidence presented during a criminal trial. Physical, oral and documentary evidence are all fair game. Therefore, it can be hard to believe that the jury is not allowed to hear every piece of evidence. There are, however, a number of types of evidence than can be deemed inadmissible by the court. Even evidence that is generally considered admissible can be knocked out at a pretrial hearing for various reasons.
One example of evidence that may be considered inadmissible is evidence of a party’s prior bad acts. In an Albany criminal case that is heading to trial this spring, the prosecution is attempting to admit evidence relating to the prior bad acts of the defendant. Andrew Formby-Carter has been charged with Assault in the Second Degree after allegedly hitting a woman in the face with a bottle at a party early one morning. The prosecution is seeking to enter evidence collected from various police reports that relates to Formby-Carter’s prior violent behavior toward women. The question is, can they do this?
In New York, evidence of a party’s prior bad acts is potentially admissible but can only be used for impeachment purposes. This means that the evidence can only be used to attack a party’s character and not as evidence that he or she in fact committed the crime for which he or she is on trial. This evidence is to be used on cross-examination to attack a witness’s credibility. Therefore, the evidence of Formby-Carter’s prior violent behavior will be used to prove that he is not being truthful in his testimony. Whether this type of evidence will be allowed in a particular case is at the discretion of the trial court.
If you are facing a criminal trial, you need the best representation you can get. Contact one of our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Ianniello Anderson as 518.350.7755 where we serve clients in the Albany, Troy, Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy and the entire Northeastern NY area with skill and dedication.