We often hear litigants enthusiastically debate the phrase “opening the door.” This usually arises when one party wants to introduce some type of evidence after the other party has opened the door to the introduction. For example, normally the State cannot introduce prior bad acts of the defendant. However, if the defense puts up a witness who testifies to the great character of the defendant, then perhaps the State may now get into those prior bad acts…maybe.
So what is the standard for opening the door? A recent South Carolina Supreme Court case, State v. Heyward, has described the standard extremely well. From Justice Hearn:
I don’t think I can add any more to that.