In a Maryland criminal trial, a jury should only convict the accused if the prosecution has presented evidence proving the accused’s commission of that specific crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Often, the people on trial are folks without spotless records; they may have had multiple prior encounters with the criminal judicial system. Those facts alone don’t make them guilty, though those facts might tempt a jury to find that defendant guilty simply because the jurors decide they dislike the accused. If you’re someone with a criminal past who is on trial again, it is crucial to ensure that you get inadmissible evidence of your past excluded from your case. This is just one of many areas where it pays to have representation from an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer.
These limitations on what the prosecution can do are necessary to avoid confusing jurors, prejudicing them against the accused, and predisposing them to believe the accused is guilty. In other words, the evidence might lead the jury to convict just because they think the accused is a bad person, not because the state offered sufficient proof of the crime charged.
As an example, there’s the Maryland Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the case of F.B., a Baltimore man on trial for felony child abuse.