Admissibility of Gruesome Photographs in Florida
In Czubak v. State, 570 So.2d 925 (Fla. 1990), the Supreme Court of Florida discussed the admissibility of gruesome photographs:
"This Court has long followed the rule that photographs are admissible if they are relevant and not so shocking in nature as to defeat the value of their relevance. Where photographs are relevant, "then the trial judge in the first instance and this Court on appeal must determine whether the gruesomeness of the portrayal is so inflammatory as to create an undue prejudice in the minds of the jury and distract them from a fair and unimpassioned consideration of the evidence." We have consistently upheld the admission of allegedly gruesome photographs where they were independently relevant or corroborative of other evidence." Id. at 928 .
The Court has found no abuse of discretion in admitting allegedly inflammatory photographs when relevant "to assist the crime scene technician in explaining the condition of the crime scene when the police arrived." Pope v. State, 679 So.2d 710, 713 (Fla. 1996).
The Court has also said, "relevant evidence which is not so shocking as to outweigh its probative value is admissible." See Pope, 679 So.2d at 714.
The Court has stated that autopsy photographs may be admissible when used to "illustrate the medical examiner's testimony and the victim's injuries," Pope, 679 So.2d at 714, or when "relevant to the medical examiner's determination as to the manner of the victim's death," Mansfield v. State, 758 So.2d 636, 648 (Fla. 2000). Moreover, "to be relevant, a photo of a deceased victim must be probative of an issue that is in dispute." Almeida v. State, 748 So.2d 922, 929 (Fla. 1999).