In any criminal case, the State bears the burden of proving that the defendant committed each element of the crime. In many cases, the State does not have direct evidence and relies on circumstantial evidence to prove its case. In limited circumstances, the State is permitted to introduce evidence that the defendant committed a collateral crime to show that the defendant is guilty of the crime he or she allegedly committed. A Florida appellate court recently analyzed when collateral crime evidence is admissible, in a case in which the State sought to admit collateral crime evidence of the defendant’s propensity to commit sexual battery. If you live in Sarasota and are charged with sexual battery or any other crime, it is essential to retain a proficient Sarasota sex crime attorney to discuss your case and the evidence that the State may be permitted to introduce against you.
Facts of the Case
It was reported that the victim alleged that the defendant penetrated her digitally without her consent while she was sleeping after a night of drinking. Shortly after the alleged incident, the defendant left messages on the victim’s phone in which he apologized for being aggressive, getting carried away, and going over the line. The defendant was charged with sexual battery. Prior to trial, the State filed a notice that it would introduce evidence at trial that the defendant had previously digitally penetrated a woman who had passed out after a night of drinking.
The defendant filed a motion in limine to preclude the collateral crime evidence. Following a hearing, the court found that the collateral crime evidence was admissible to show the defendant’s propensity to commit the crime alleged. The collateral crime evidence was introduced at trial, and the defendant was found guilty. The defendant appealed, arguing, in part, that the trial court erred in permitting collateral evidence for the purpose of showing propensity. Continue reading