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What Is The Williams Rule In Florida?

Similar Fact Evidence Rule

Many states, including Florida, have what is known as a similar fact evidence rule. This allows a party, if they have given proper notice to the other party (and the other party has had an opportunity to file any pretrial motions objecting to the use of similar fact evidence) to admit similar fact evidence. If similar fact evidence is allowed to be admitted, other acts of a similar nature committed by the defendant will be revealed to the jury. The defense, of course, opposes this.

How Similar Fact Evidence is Presented

It is important to remember the defense can also offer similar fact evidence. A classic example would be the complaining witness who is always making the same type of allegation, and it turns out to be false time and time again. The jury will not be instructed on similar fact evidence unless it is to be admitted. The instruction reads: “The evidence you are about to receive concerning evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts allegedly committed by the defendant will be considered by you for the limited purpose of proving motive or opportunity, or intent or preparation or plan or knowledge or the absence of mistake or accident on the part of the defendant and you shall consider it only as it relates to that for those issue or issues.”

If A Witness Has A Prior Record, Can That Be Used Against Them At Trial?

There are some crimes that can be used as what is called Impeachment Evidence, and there are some crimes that cannot be used. For example, if someone has adjudication withheld for most criminal acts, then they cannot be used as impeachment unless, of course, it meets the similar fact evidence rule requirements. When it comes to certain crimes as impeachment, prior record being used against the particular witness, we are instructed to look at two different sections of the evidence code, as well as the case law surrounding it. If evidence relating to a witness is admitted, the judge will instruct the jury as follows: “The evidence that you are about to receive that either a witness or the defendant has been convicted of a crime should be considered by you only in weighing the credibility of the witness or defendant’s testimony and not for any other purpose”.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is a slightly edited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on The Williams Rule In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 423-0035 today.


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“"This is actually one of the best law firms I've had the pleasure of dealing with. They stick with you throughout the entire process, walking you through every step and they know the law! They were able to help me get out of a situation that had occurred because of a technicality and was very knowledgeable in the process. I would recommend them to anyone."”

James S.

“"Such a great service to go through when dealing with any legal matter! Mr. Cobb is very knowledgable and will take the time to understand and communicate with you in a timely manner."”

Dreeana A.

“"Everything was great and smooth working with Mr. Cobb. He was fast and efficient and answered any questions I had."”

Joshua T.

“"I would recommend Attorney Cobb to others. I would describe him as an honest and straightforward lawyer. All my concerns were addressed."”

Crystal H.

“"He was excellent, he did everything without me having to do much especially not living close. I hired him and told him everything and he did it all and it was a great experience. The legal assistant that works there was also amazing."”

Joseph S.

“"It was as clean of a process as it could have been for me. He handled everything for me because I live out of state and made it so simple and easy. He was great and thorough and I hardly had to do anything."”

William S.

“"If you can hire Stephen as your attorney then definitely do that. He talked openly and gave me assurance and even his legal assistant that works there is amazing. I never had any problems or trouble with them."”

Lonnie M.

“"I have used other lawyers in the past. I was facing years but left court with probation and a suspended sentence. Thank you and god bless you."”

Jason

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