Monday, April 18, 2022

Evidence of 20 Year Old Crimini Falsi Conviction Precluded

In the case of Lett v. SEPTA, No. 2:19-CV-03170-KSM (E.D. Pa. Feb. 10, 2022 Marston, J.), the court issued an evidentiary ruling regarding a prior criminal conviction of a Plaintiff in a disability discrimination lawsuit that the Plaintiff filed against his former employer.

The Plaintiff filed a Motion In Limine to preclude the Defendants from introducing evidence at trial regarding the Plaintiff’s 20 year old fraud convictions. The Plaintiff asserted that the probative value of this evidence was outweighed by the prejudicial effect of the conviction due to their age.

The court granted the Plaintiff’s Motion In Limine. 

Judge Marston noted that, while a criminal conviction involving a dishonest act or false statement could be admitted to attack a witness’ credibility, if the conviction occurred more than ten (10) years ago, the admitting party must prove that its probative value substantially outweighed any prejudice effect.

The court emphasized that the Plaintiff’s criminal convictions occurred twenty (20) years ago.

The court found that, while the Plaintiff’s convictions were indeed probative of the Plaintiff’s character for truthfulness because fraud crimes implied dishonesty, the court ruled that the age of the conviction meant that their probative value did not outweigh the risk of prejudice.

As such, the Plaintiff’s Motion was granted and the evidence precluded.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (March 10, 2022).

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