Generally speaking, the American judicial system is predicated on the idea that a defendant in a criminal case should only be judged solely on the allegations that are being considered by the jury, not on character or past actions. Due to this, prosecutors are normally not permitted to use proof of your “previous bad deeds” or poor character to prove that you must have committed this crime.
However, there are several significant exceptions to this norm, particularly in cases of elder abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Read on to learn more and then contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 to request a legal consutlation.
Situations in which a prosecutor might be able to present evidence of prior bad acts
If you are accused of an elder abuse crime, a prosecutor may provide evidence that you committed an elder abuse felony during the previous ten years under Evidence Code 1109. If the alleged crime occurred more than ten years ago, the prosecution can only present the evidence if the court holds a hearing and determines that doing so would be in the interests of justice.
Consider the scenario when you are accused of physically abusing your mother. The judge may decide that it is in the best interests of justice to let the prosecution present the evidence if you were accused and found guilty of physically abusing your father in the same manner 11 years ago.
However, the judge may decide that if you were previously found guilty of arguing with an older boyfriend 15 years prior that this “prior bad act” does not demonstrate that you were more likely to be guilty of physically abusing your mother and that it is therefore not in the interest of justice to introduce this evidence.
Why can prior bad acts be brought up in some cases but not others?
It seems unjust that some types of earlier bad conduct are acceptable while evidence of the majority of them is not. The California Legislature has decided that these types of offenses (sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse, and child abuse) are different and the victims deserve a higher level of protection. Due to the fact that these crimes are distinct from other sorts of crimes, it is simpler for a prosecutor to present evidence of them in court.
Because the rules of evidence are complicated, it can be challenging to predict what will be used as evidence in your case. The difference between a favorable and unfavorable outcome in your case can be made by hiring an expert elder abuse lawyer. Call or e-mail Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 right now. We shall make a strong effort to clear your name of all allegations of elder abuse.