26 St. Thomas L. Rev. 309 (2013-2014)
The Admissibility of Weapons Not Used in the Crime Charged

handle is hein.journals/stlr26 and id is 335 raw text is: THE ADMISSIBILITY OF WEAPONS NOT USED IN
In many prosecutions in which weapons have been used to commit
charged offenses, the State seeks to introduce into evidence weapons not
actually used in the crime but purportedly related either to the charged
crime or to the credibility of a witness. For years, courts have struggled
with the issue of whether the State has established the relevancy of a
weapon not used in the crime underlying the case at hand as well as
whether the admission of a weapon under those circumstances would cause
unfair prejudice to the defendant. Case law on the relevancy of weapon
evidence presents a myriad of opinions with fine and detailed distinctions
in reasoning and conclusions. Not too long ago, Florida's high court
weighed in on the issue in a decision that set out the considerations that a
trial court must make before admitting weapons not used in the charged
crime.    This article discusses that opinion and compares past and
subsequent cases to its parameters.
In Agatheas v. State,' the Florida Supreme Court considered whether
the admission of a gun recovered from a backpack in the defendant's
possession five years after the charged murder had any connection to the
crime. Citing to Jackson v. State,2 the court stated that it had previously
held that in order for evidence of a firearm to be admissible . . . [at] trial,
'the State must show a sufficient link between the [firearm] and charged
crime. '   The court stressed that before the trial court considers the
prejudicial effect of weapon evidence under Florida Statutes section
90.403,4 the trial court first must address whether the evidence is even
relevant, to either the crime or to a witness's credibility.'   The court
Melynda L. Melear is an assistant attorney general with the Florida Attorney General's Office in
the West Palm Beach Criminal Appeals Division. She has practiced appellate work for 25 years,
having started her career as a staff attorney with the Fourth District Court of Appeal. She has
maintained her AV-rating since 1993, and she has been certified with the Florida Bar in Criminal
Appeals since 2001. She thanks the Criminal Law Section for its assistance in helping
accomplish this publication.
I. Agatheas v. State, 77 So. 3d 1232 (Fla. 2011).
2. Jackson v. State, 25 So. 3d 518, 528 (Fla. 2009).
3. Agatheas, 77 So. 3d at 1236 (quoting Jackson, 25 So. 3d at 528).
4. FLA. STAT. § 90.403 (2013).
5. See Agatheas, 77 So. 3d at 1237.


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