Third Party Guilt and 403

A recent SC Court of Appeals case highlighted the doctrine of “third party guilt.” Essentially a defendant cannot simply introduce evidence of third party guilt, but first has to establish that a third party likely did it. A judge has the discretion to decide if the defendant has met that burden. So what is the standard?

In State v. Brooks, the court explained first the doctrine of third party guilt:

They next addressed how the trial judge should weigh the evidence and whether to let it in under third party doctrine:

Citing the Supreme Court, the CoA holds that “third party guilt is appropriately managed by evidentiary rules such as Rule 403, SCRE.” Rule 403 states that prejudicial must substantially outweigh probative. There are other rules of evidence that alter this burden:

The court ultimately held that the defendant had not presented the train of facts or circumstances required:

*apologies for any errors or bad links; currently blogging from iPhone