Thursday, December 07, 2006

Relevance?

“Objection, your honor, relevance.” This is an oft-used objection heard often in courtrooms and in Hollywood. Today, the Texas Law travels to Houston to investigate the Relevance Objection.

Mr. Leonard Reed was convicted of aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 80 years in prison. He appealed, claiming, other things, that the trial court improperly overruled his relevancy objection to State proferred testimony.

Texas Rule of Evidence 401 defines relevant evidence as “evidence that has any tendency to make the existence of any fact of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable that it would be without the evidence.” Rule 402 states that “all relevant evidence is admissible.”

Evidence need not, by itself, prove or disprove a fact all at once. Rather, as stated in Stewart v. State, 129 S.W.3d 93 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004), evidence is relevant if the “the evidence provides a small nudge toward proving or disproving some fact of consequence.”

In this case the evidence presented did not in itself prove a fact of consequence. However, it did provide facts which relevant to an issue of the trial. Thus, the evidence was admissible and the trial court properly overruled the hearsay objection. Conviction affirmed.

Leonard Reed, Jr. v. The State of Texas
On Appeal from the 179th District Court; Harris County, Texas

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