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What is your opinion about the admissibility of such evidence in this case?Assume that...

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lnknparkchick84 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted June 27, 2011 at 8:45 AM via web

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What is your opinion about the admissibility of such evidence in this case?

Assume that the prosecution in the murder trial of a mother offered as evidence postmortem photographs of the young child, who died from child abuse, as well as video showing the child's mother participating in sadomasochistic sexual acts. The defense counsel objects to the introduction of both the photographs and the video.

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 27, 2011 at 10:08 AM (Answer #1)

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Assuming the pictures have some bearing on the manner and cause of death of the child, they would be admissible. If they were offered for no other reason than to show that the child was dead, an objection might possibly be sustained as other evidence (testimony, death certificate, etc.) could be offered to that effect, and the photographs would be irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial to the defendant. So it is important to know if the pictures showed injuries, malnutrition, or otherwise provided visual evidence of the cause of death as neglect.

The sadomasochistic acts of the mother are another issue. If evidence shows she did so while she neglected the child, the evidence might very well be admitted. If however it is simply used to show that she is kinky with no direct relation to the child's death, the video would not be admissible. The fact that a person engages in unusual sexual acts, or even commits adultery, does not per se mean the person is an unfit parent or neglects his/her child. So the admission of this evidence would be quite problematic.

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