Brief Fact Summary. The defendant, Tucker (the “defendant”), called the police to come over to his house stating that there was an old dead man there. When police arrived they found the defendant drinking and the body of an old man was found on the couch. Although the defendant asserted he had been asleep and found the body when he awoke, a jury convicted him of second degree murder.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Under the rule of exclusion, evidence of other offenses is excluded unless it is relevant to prove: motive, intent, identity, absence of mistake or accident, or common plan or scheme.
Whether other offenses that the defendant has committed is admissible in court as evidence of a common plan or scheme?
Whether a police officer should be allowed to testify that the defendant said to him at the time of the crime “you find the gun this time”?
Evidence of the 1957 murder is not admissible because it does not relate to a common plan or scheme. Here, there is nothing in the record to establish that the defendant was the killer of the victim in the 1957 case. In that case there was only conjecture and speculation and it is not admissible in the present case as evidence of the defendant’s guilt.
The police officer’s testimony should be allowed since it was understandable and not unintelligible.
The reception of such evidence is justified by necessity and, if other evidence has substantially established the element of the crime involved (motive, intent, identity, absence of mistake, etc,), the probative value of showing another offense is diminished, and the trial court should rule it inadmissible even though relevant and within an exception to the rule of exclusion.View Full Point of Law