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April 25, 2007


Brock Landers

Generally, criminal records including former convictions are inadmissible as evidence at trial. The theory being that jurors will hear of the past conviction, decide that the accused is a "bad person", and vote to convict on that basis, instead of on the basis of the evidence presented at trial.
You don't want an innocent person being convicted again just because they've committed a crime in the past, etc.

I actually think there are some exceptions to this general rule for certain sex crimes, but they may have been inapplicable in this case.

Doctor Slack

It's impossible to tell whether he's guilty-looking from what's in the articles, and without more information about the supposed inconsistencies in the accusers' stories. The snippet of Hinson's story that we get doesn't seem to make sense, but it's hard to assess it based on that.

Doctor Slack

At any rate, it now looks like he's about to be prosecuted on drug and firearms charges.


FRE 404 is pretty clear: Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident, provided that upon request by the accused, the prosecution in a criminal case shall provide reasonable notice in advance of trial, or during trial if the court excuses pretrial notice on good cause shown, of the general nature of any such evidence it intends to introduce at trial.

FRE 609 (concerning admission of convictions to attack credibility) has a time limit too: Evidence of a conviction under this rule is not admissible if a period of more than ten years has elapsed since the date of the conviction or of the release of the witness from the confinement imposed for that conviction, whichever is the later date, unless the court determines, in the interests of justice, that the probative value of the conviction supported by specific facts and circumstances substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect. This might have been the difference.

Texas rules 404(b) and 609(b) are the same as the FRE.

belle waring

I guess that's reasonable, since you don't want the cops to be able to bring a case to a quick close by grabbing some random previously-convicted guy and telling the jury he's returned to a life of crime. on the whole I'm ready to let the ten guilty men etc. the dudes that dig the secet bunker behind the house, though; I have trouble giving them the benefit of the doubt somehow.

Doctor Slack

The jury has said that the acquittal doesn't mean they find Hinson's story any less suspicious than anyone else, and that they would have been happy to convict had the accusers' story not been undone by too many internal discrepancies and too little evidential support.

belle waring

thanks, DS that's interesting. I figured there had to be some real problems, since I would have imagined the average SC jury would be pretty willing to convict if given a case.

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