Florida Evidence Code
The Florida Evidence Code is a series of codified rules detailing how evidence can be admitted, when it is allowed, not allowed, exceptions to rules, etc. If you are curious about some of the nitty gritty of the actual statutory language you can actually go and read through Florida Evidence Code.
For purposes of our discussion, the goal here is to give you a brief overview of some simple evidentiary concepts.
- 90.101 Defines the Statute and the remaining statutes in the code as the “Florida Evidence Code.”
- 90.103 Defines the scope of the Statute, explaining that the Code covers both Criminal and Civil Evidentiary Issues.
- 90.106 Defines the limit of a judge’s communication with the jury, specifically the summing up of evidence is not allowed.
- 90.404 Explains when Character evidence is admissible at trial.
- 90.404(2) Goes more into depth about when Character evidence is admissible. Specific considerations include whether the evidence itself is sufficiently similar and whether it goes to prove something very specific such as motive, opportunity, lack of mistake, etc. There are a number of ways that similar-fact can relate. However, Courts are cautious to allow this type of evidence into court unless there is incredible probative value. This statute is often referred to as “Williams Rule Evidence.”
- 90.501 to 90.5055 discuss privileges, such as the attorney-client privilege or the husband-wife privilege. There are multiple privileges that are discussed in the Florida Evidence Code that extend beyond these mentioned. These privileges are different in scope and prevent certain evidence from being discussed if it falls under a particular privilege. Most privileges have exceptions, so it’s important to actually talk to your lawyer about whether the privilege applies in your case.
- 90.604 Explains that a witness must actually be able to demonstrate that they have knowledge about what they are talking about. For example a lay witness cannot talk about what they think happened. But a lay witness can talk about what they actually saw.
The Florida Evidence Code is much more comprehensive than what we have listed here. This is just a small glimpse into some of the statutes that detail the legal rules controlling courtroom evidentiary standards.