Can petitioner speak about sexual abuse and other details of respondent's medical history during domestic violence hearing?

Asked 8 months ago - Orlando, FL

Can petitioner speak about sexual abuse and other details of respondent's medical history known to him during hearing on petition for injunction for protection against domestic violence? Can he present respondent's medical bills, prescriptions?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Carin Manders Constantine

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . Evidence submitted to the Court must be relevant to the issue at hand, Domestic Violence. The Respondent's medical history is rarely related to violence unless the person was Baker Acted or a medical condition caused the actions. Also, sexual abuse that happened to someone as a child or young adult is rarely relevant.

    Here is a link to some Rules of Evidence. http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/90.402,

    90.401 Definition of relevant evidence.—Relevant evidence is evidence tending to prove or disprove a material fact. http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/90.401

    Also remember that victims of Sexual Abuse have protection under Florida's Rape Shield Law that, among other things, prohibits the publication of the identity of an alleged rape victim.

    So, you should probably talk to an attorney before attempting to bring up a sexual abuse issue.

    This information is a general answer and is not specific to any particular case. Carin Manders Constantine, Esq.... more
  2. Ophelia Genarina Bernal-Mora

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Only if it is relevant to the actual issue before the court, the allegations of domestic violence.

    I recommend you consult with a local and experienced family law attorney regarding this case.

    Sincerely,

    Ophelia Bernal-Mora
    Orlando Family Law Attorney

    You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and... more
  3. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . He can try. The Respondent would have the right to object to the proffer of evidence. They could argue that it wasn't relevant to any issue before the court. The Petitioner would have to demonstrate that the evidence he sought to introduce was somehow relevant to a question that the court had to answer. Hearings aren't intended to allow aggrieved parties to attack each other in every possible way - the arguments have to be related to legal elements of a claim or defense.

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more
  4. Christopher Robert Dillingham II

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . Any evidence that is material and relevant to the case-in-chief or any defenses that is not unfairly prejudicial is admissible. However, petitioners and respondents often try to admit hearsay evidence that doesn't fit any recognized exceptions. I've seen attorneys try it too. I always carry the Rules of Evidence with me, and if see hearsay documents attached to the plea, I file a Motion in Limine to address them.

    I handle a LOT of these cases in Orange County--mostly through Harbor House as part of my pro bono obligation to the FL bar, but I also represent respondents. DV cases, as I tell my clients, are trials, and all the rules apply to DV hearings that apply to trials by jury (except there is no jury), and judges are even harder to impress than juries.

    You really need an attorney. Hire one. If you cannot afford one, maybe one of us will take your case pro bono. Please don't think this hearing is anything but a very serious legal matter. That path leads to failure.

  5. Preston Ray Tuley

    Contributor Level 4

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    Answered . Any evidence relevant to the proceeding can be introduced. You, as a non-lawyer, should hire an attorney to prevent a veritable free for all of evidence that may not be relevant. This simply is an area for a trained professional and a lawyer working for you will generally be able to corral an out of control situation as your advocate in the courtroom. Hire one.

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