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Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Unfairly Prejudicial Evidence May not be Used in Trial

Unfairly Prejudicial Evidence May not be Used in Trial


Let’s say you have evidence that helps your case. Good evidence. Evidence that is so persuasive and convincing you know it will help convince a jury to see your side if your case goes to trial. There’s just one problem: the evidence is so good and so persuasive to a jury, that the court doesn’t allow you to use it.

Can You Use or Exclude Evidence That’s “Too Good?”

This seems impossible—after all, the whole goal of any lawsuit is to get better, more convincing evidence than the other side. But there is some evidence that is just so persuasive that it clouds the jury’s ability to be fair. Some evidence is so good, that the jury would simply ignore any other evidence, something that the law does not want the jury to do.

This is one reason why police reports aren’t admissible as evidence. Juries see police and police reports as definitive; police officers have a veil of believability and credibility that would make it hard for a jury to consider any evidence to the contrary.

Evidence That Harms

Evidence can be so prejudicial that it is good for your case, but it can also be so prejudicial, that it hurts someone’s case.

Imagine a hypothetical where a woman who was walking in a street, is hit by a car. It turns out that she was in the street because she was doing something illegal—say, selling drugs. While selling drugs is undeniably wrong, it doesn’t mean that you deserve to get hit by a car.

But if the jury learned that the pedestrian was selling drugs, they would immediately turn against the pedestrian; nothing she said or did in the case would be able to turn the jury’s opinion in her favor. And, the fact that she was selling drugs, isn’t even relevant to the issues in the case.

Exclusion of Words and Symbols

A few years ago, the shooter in the Parkland school shooting stood trial for sentencing. The state wanted to introduce evidence that he had a swastika on his gun. The defense, fearing that the jury would be “too persuaded” by that evidence, and arguing that the swastika would have nothing to do with whether he should get life or the death penalty, argued that the jury should not learn of the swastika.

Ultimately, the judge did allow the evidence to be shown, although it ended up not making a difference, as the shooter was given life in prison.

Review in Private

When evidence seems to be too prejudicial, the judge will often look at the evidence in private, and determine whether it is too prejudicial. Allowing evidence that is too prejudicial can lead to an appeal, and a reversal of what the jury does, so it is important that parties to a case are careful not to ask for evidence that is too persuasive to be admitted.

What evidence can be used in your case? Contact the Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Cameron Law today at 702-745-4545 for help with your injury trial.




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