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Name: People v. Armstead
Case #: D036223
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/02/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 12/18/02.
Summary

A court may not change the scope or basis of admissibility of evidence after the case is submitted to the jury because fundamental fairness requires that a defendant be able to address the admissibility and purpose of evidence before the case is ready for argument, instruction and deliberation. Without such due process, a defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel is violated. It is also a denial of the Sixth Amendment right to confront the evidence. Here the defendant was charged with multiple counts of robbery and the jury asked questions regarding whether it should base its decision on all the evidence presented or if each count should be based solely on the evidence relating to it. In responding that evidence of other crimes could be considered for the limited purpose of identity, motive or intent, the court’s remarks essentially changed the basis for the admissibility of the evidence, without having had that evidence properly admitted for such purposes during the trial.