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- in Constitutional Rights
- by Stephen Gustitis
My friend at Grits for Breakfast has noted recent Texas legislation designed to make it easier for Texas prosecutors to convict alleged child molesters will also lead to more false convictions. The idea of using past bad conduct (called extraneous bad acts) to persuade juries to convict someone of present charges is abhorrent to the criminal defense attorney. It leads to false convictions. That’s the precise justification for Rule 404(b) of the Texas Rules of Evidence. Rule 404(b) prohibits prosecutors from using past bad acts to prove the “character of a person in order to show action in conformity” therewith. Evidence of prior bad conduct prejudices a jury against the accused. Allowing prosecutors to employ the theory “if he did it then, he must of done it now” encourages a jury to develop a bias against the accused that’s almost impossible to overcome. See Texas SB 12. This is a very bad idea. And remember, a qualified Bryan Texas Criminal Defense Firm can help you with any questions about the criminal rules of evidence.
Stephen Gustitis is a criminal defense lawyer in Bryan-College Station. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a husband, father, and retired amateur bicycle racer.