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Prior sex crimes inadmissible to show propensity for such crimes: Maryland

Aug 02, 2007 Prior sex crimes inadmissible to show propensity for such crimes: Maryland

Photo from website of U.S. District Court (W.D. Mi.).

On July 31, 2007, Maryland’s highest court held that evidence of prior sex crimes is inadmissible at a criminal trial to show propensity for such crimes. However, the court left open the door for legislation to change this prohibition. Hurst v. State, ___ Md. ___ (July 31, 2007):

"Contrary to the United States Congress, the [Maryland] General Assembly and this Court have determined that prior sex crimes evidence should not be admitted solely to demonstrate propensity in a trial involving a different complainant. If the Maryland Rule regarding propensity evidence in sex cases should be changed, the change should come from the Legislature or by this Court, sitting in its legislative capacity, exercising its authority to enact Rules of Practice and Procedure and Rules of Evidence. See e.g., Trump v. State, 753 A.2d 963, 972 n.43 (Del. 2000) (awaiting study of Federal Rule 413 et seq. by the Permanent Advisory Committee on the Delaware Rules of Evidence to determine what changes, if any, should be included in revising the Delaware Rules, which, in general, have been patterned after the Federal Rules of Evidence)." Hurst . Clearly, I do not want such a legislative change. Jon Katz.

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