Many of our readers may remember hearing or reading a couple years ago about the death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Whitney Houston. Her death was tragic not only because she was young and because of its proximity to her mother’s death in 2012, but also because Brown’s boyfriend Nick Gordon was accused of playing a part in her death.
Though he has denied any responsibility for her death, Gordon was found to be civilly liable last year for Bobbi Kristina’s death and was ordered to pay $36 million to her estate. He has faced no criminal charges in connection with the incident, though investigation into the case is ongoing. The fact that Gordon was recently arrested for domestic battery and false imprisonment in Florida, according to the District Attorney’s office, adds an “additional layer of evidence” to the case. What exactly does that mean, though?
In any criminal case, the government is obligated to provide relevant, reliable evidence supporting each and every element of the offenses charged against the defendant. If there is insufficient evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, the defendant cannot be convicted. In gathering evidence, investigators look to every aspect of aspect of a defendant’s life and character to determine where incriminating evidence might be available.
Not every piece of evidence investigators turn up can be used in court against a defendant under the rules governing admissibility of evidence. For example, subsequent or prior criminal charges or convictions might provide investigators clues about where to look for evidence supporting charges for another crime, but subsequent or prior criminal charges or convictions cannot be used to support a conviction on separate charges.
It is important for anybody facing criminal charges to work with an experienced attorney who understands the rules of evidence and how they fit within the criminal process to ensure their rights are protected. Building a sound defense case based firmly on the evidence will give a defendant the best possible chance at a favorable outcome.