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We have a victim in a felony case who had a prior juvenile problem in 2004. She was never adjudicated and the juvenile charges were dismissed without a dispostion. (Her parents were the victims and requested the charges dropped.) However, the records do not appear to be sealed.

I want to prevent the defense from using the prior juvenile act as impeachment evidence against our victim when she testifies in 2 weeks.

any thoughts?
Posts: 64 | Location: Johnson County, Texas | Registered: May 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hard to say without knowing the details of the prior juvenile problem. In general, extraneous, unadjudicated acts of misconduct (if proven) are not admissible to impeach. But, as recent litigation has shown, there may be circumstances under which the act of misconduct is evidence of a bias or prejudice exhibited by the victim that relates to the current case.

For a discussion of this issue, see Lopez, 18 S.W.3d 220, and the same case back before the CCA at 86 S.W.3d 228.

My suggestion is to get the juvenile records and determine if any plausible exculpatory or impeachment use is available. If so, then give the records under seal to the trial judge in camera to examine and make a decision. Or disclose the records and file a motion in limine, asking that the trial court hear the arguments before permitting use of the evidence for impeachment.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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