Scrutinizing the quality of evidence presented by prosecutors is an important aspect of building a strong criminal defense case. In considering the quality of evidence its appropriateness for admission at trial, there are several factors to consider. If there are deficiencies with respect to any of these factor, evidence may be considered inadmissible in court.
First is the issue of relevance, which involves the question of whether the evidence tends to prove or disprove a material fact at issue in the criminal case. Not all relevant evidence is going to be admissible in a criminal case, though.
For example, evidence of drug possession can be excluded from trial if it can be shown that the evidence was obtained illegally, even if it is relevant to the case. Various rules can bar the admission of otherwise relevant evidence, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney who knows how to navigate these issues.
Another factor in the admission of evidence at trial is its reliability. It is not at all uncommon in criminal proceedings for relevant evidence to be excluded because of its lack of reliability. Rules of evidence contain various rules that identify when evidence is not reliable, such as when it is hearsay or when it lacks authentication. Lack of reliability is the basis for many of the objections in criminal cases.
One possible scenario where relevant evidence may be deemed inadmissible for lack of reliability is when it has been subjected to tampering. In our next post, we’ll speak about a case here in Maryland where tampering was an issue and how that impacted criminal defendants in numerous cases.