Police reports are they allowed to use them in the trial against the defendant?

Asked about 5 years ago - Ocala, FL

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Attorney answers (3)

  1. Craig A. Epifanio

    Contributor Level 18

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . As a Florida attorney, I can tell you that the other attorneys are not exactly correct. Florida Rules of Evidence generally speaking will not allow it to be introduced into evidence. That said, certain reports such as lab reports can be admitted if they are supported by the person who prepared the report. The reports the police create can't just be admitted. The rare exception would be for impeachment, and even then there are rules that limit that. Talk to a local Florida attorney today to get a more detailed explanation if you don't have one already.

  2. Richard Earl Hornsby

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . I am not sure what those out-of-state attorneys are babbling about, but Police reports can never be used solely as direct evidence against you.

    This means that a police officer cannot write a report; and then that report be introduced in evidence against you without the officer ever testifying. Florida law is crystal clear on this issue because it violates the Confrontation clause of the U.S. Constitution.

    On the other hand, once a person testifies, they can use their report to refresh their memory OR a defendant can introduce teh report as impeachment if they say something sufficiently different at trial.

  3. Howard Woodley Bailey

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Contrary to the answer posted by the last person, police reports can be used during a trial for a number of specific evidential purposes. The State will introduce them to allow a witness to refresh their recollection or to establish that a specific event occurred, and the defense will introduce them to establish that the testimony of the officer is contrary to the so-called facts stated in the report.

    Reports that can be introduced for identification purposes, or as trial exhibits, include but are not limited to the Incident Report, Continuation Reports, Detective Reports, Evidence Reports, Laboratory Submission Reports, Laboratory Analysis Reports, Expert Reports, Reports of Statements, and Surveillance Reports. In short, any report generated during the police investigation or the prosecution's preparation of the case for trial can be introduced at trial.

    Assuming you are actually considering taking a case to trial, I assume that you have a lawyer who can review these reports with you and advise you as to what reports are most likely to used during the trial, how and when they are most likely to be introduced, and whether any legitimate evidential objection (based upon the Rules of Evidence) can be made to try to bar their admission. If you do not have a lawyer, contact one who is actually admitted to practice law, preferably in the State of FL and discuss this issue with them before you go to trial.

    DISCLAIMER
    This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship or constitute legal advice. Given the nature of this website, it is provided solely for informational purposes, for you to use as a starting point when speaking directly with a lawyer in your State. Do not assume that the legal theories I mention that pertain to NJ will apply in your State. I urge you to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice in your State before making any decisions about this case.

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