Submitting Law and Order SVU Episodes as Evidence?

It is not as crazy as it sounds.

Defensive theories, while totally credible, can sometimes be perceived as outrageous. In some of these cases, different types of evidence is used to prove a defensive theory. But, this evidence must meet the requirements of the Federal Rules of Evidence and be relevant to the case.

Let’s say you are facing an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge and one of your theories is that the child artificially inseminated herself and got the idea from the popular television show Law & Order SVU, sounds crazy right? Well, believe it or not, there is a case on it.

In the 5th district court of appeals case, Hill v. Texas, the defendant appealed his case, part of his argument was he unable to present a complete defense because these Law and Order episodes were not allowed into evidence.

In this case, the appeals court did not allow the episodes into evidence. The court explained the defendant never questioned the complaining witness about these episodes and therefore the episodes were not relevant. Also, if the episodes were relevant, they should be authenticated.

For evidence to be authenticated, the side wanting to present the evidence must bring in someone to show chain of custody, proving the evidence has not been altered in any way from its original form.

So, if you want to use a television show to help with your defense, according to this case, make sure the episodes are relevant to the case and you may have to subpoena J.J. Abrams to come authenticate them.

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