Are Autopsy Photographs Admissible As Evidence In Court ?
In McWatters v. State, 36 So. 3d 613, 637 (Fla.), petition for cert. filed, No. 10-6029 (U.S. Aug. 20, 2010), the Court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting four autopsy photographs into evidence, explaining:
"This Court has upheld the admission of photographs when they are offered to explain a medical examiner's testimony, the manner of death, the location of the wounds, or to demonstrate the heinous, atrocious, or cruel (HAC) factor."
Although the photographs in McWatters depicted the decomposed heads, necks, and upper torsos of the victims, they were relevant where used by the medical examiner to explain the condition of the bodies and the manner and cause of death.
Additionally, we found that "[t]he photographs were also relevant to establishing HAC because [the medical examiner] used these photographs to demonstrate how the victims were strangled." Id.;
See also England v. State, 940 So. 2d 389, 399 (Fla. 2006) (finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting autopsy photos of the victim's head, torso, and hands in a moderately decomposed state where relevant to establish the manner and cause of death and HAC).