Sex crimes, especially sex crimes against children, generally face a strong response from law enforcement and the prosecution. These cases tend to be sensational and the powers that be are generally inclined to go full throttle to obtain a conviction. What is more, those accused of sex crimes have different standards of evidentiary rules than the general population. Therefore, if you have been accused of a sex crime, you need an aggressive defense by someone who has the knowledge and experience to protect your rights.
Texas Rules of Evidence 404
Section 404 of the Texas Rules of Evidence, in relevant part, provides: “Evidence of a person’s character or character trait is not admissible to prove that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character or trait.” In other words, it is inadmissible to bring evidence that a defendant has a proclivity toward crime because the defendant has a history of bad behavior.
Despite Section 404, the Texas State Legislature enacted article 38.37 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure that provides for an exception to Section 404 of the Texas Rules of Evidence: “[with respect to sex crimes against a child,] evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts committed by the defendant against the child who is the victim of the alleged offense . . . for its bearing on relevant matters, including: (1) the state of mind of the defendant and the child; and 10 (2) the previous and subsequent relationship between the defendant and the child.” Thus, Section 404’s protection for defendants is inapplicable when the defendant is accused of a sex crime against a child. The Texas Criminal Code provides a powerful tool for prosecutors looking to convict someone of a sex crime against a child.
Note that a child, under the laws of Texas, is anyone under the age of 17.
Evidence in Sex Crimes Cases
Once the defendant is accused of a sex crime against a child, the prosecution will comb the person’s records for anything that can establish a causal connection to the alleged crime. Sex crimes, in general, do not have much physical evidence. Much of the evidence will rely on the testimony of the child or an outcry witness. That prosecution will usually present to the jury, in a highly dramatic way, that the testimony is backed up by various other factors and therefore the defendant is a “monster.”
The prosecution will look at the person’s record. Does the defendant have a history of psychological issues? Did the defendant ever do something that suggests that he or she is “crazy?” Has the defendant previously interacted with children? If he or she has, how have those interactions gone? Family, neighbors, coworkers and others will be brought to testify about the person’s behavior. The prosecution will then state how that behavior links to the alleged crime.
Therefore, if you are facing an allegation of a sex crime against a minor, you need a strong advocate on your side. Contact the criminal defense firm of Christopher Abel, a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney.
(image courtesy of Blake Cheek)