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Statements & Beliefs vs. Prior Bad Acts

Prior statements are not prior acts under SCRE 404(b). “But a prior statement of bad intent is not a prior bad act. See Anderson v. State, 354 S.C. 431 (2003) (determining a threatening statement was not a bad act); State v. Beck, 342 S.C. 129 (2000) (explaining Lyle concerns bad acts and other crimes of a defendant, not statements of intent to commit crimes).” (cleaned up). State v. Hawes, 423 S.C. 118 (Ct. App. 2018)

There is not a distinction between evidence of beliefs that the defendant committed prior bad acts and evidence that the defendant committed prior acts. If there were a distinction, then that would swallow the rule against propensity evidence and allow witnesses to merely state they believed that the defendant committed the prior act. State v. Bell, 430 S.C. 449, 455 (Ct. App. 2020)


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