Expect a long hard fight over this one.
Jurors could hear of earlier incidents, even if no charges resulted.
By PATRICIA HART KILDAY and BRIAN ROGERS - Houston Chronicle
AUSTIN — In what critics say could be a “seismic change” in state criminal law, the Texas Senate tentatively approved a bill that would allow jurors in sexual assault cases to hear testimony about similar allegations against a defendant — including if the previous incident did not result in a conviction or even criminal charges.
The bill by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would allow the introduction of such testimony to be admitted during the guilt or innocence phase of a trial if a judge — outside the presence of the jury — hears the evidence and deems it relevant.
The bill gives “greater resources to prosecutors and victims of sexual assault,” Huffman said Monday. Allowing testimony about similar allegations “brings Texas closer in line with federal rules of evidence,” she said.