Any Evidence Relevant to Prove a Material Fact Is Admissible Unless Precluded by Specific Rule of Exclusion
In Zack v. State, 753 So. 2d 9, (Fla. 2000), the court explained:
In Williams v. State, this Court reiterated the standard rule for admission of evidence; that is, that any evidence relevant to prove a material fact at issue is admissible unless precluded by a specific rule of exclusion. See 90.402, Fla. Stat. (1995).
The Court also said relevant evidence will not be excluded merely because it relates to facts that point to the commission of a separate crime, but added the caveat that "the question of the relevancy of this type of evidence should be cautiously scrutinized before it is determined to be admissible."
This rule concerning the admissibility of similar fact evidence was codified by the Legislature as section 90.404(2), Florida Statutes (1995).
Later, in Bryan v. State, 533 So. 2d 744 (Fla. 1988), we made it clear that the admissibility of other crimes evidence is not limited to crimes with similar facts.
The court stated that similar fact evidence may be admissible pursuant to section 90.404, and other crimes or bad acts that are not similar may be admissible under section 90.402. . . . Thus, whether the evidence of other bad acts complained of by Zack is termed "similar fact" evidence or "dissimilar fact" evidence, its admissibility is determined by its relevancy.
The trial court must utilize a balancing test to determine if the probative effect of this relevant evidence is outweighed by its prejudicial effect. Id. at S21