Is Being on Parole a Motive for Murdering a Police Officer ?

In Sims v. State, 681 So. 2d 1112 (Fla. 1996), the court determined that evidence of a defendant's current status of being on parole was properly admitted to show the defendant's motive for murdering a police officer when the police officer stopped the car the defendant was driving. A drug-sniffing dog at the scene subsequently alerted the police officer to the possible presence of illegal drugs in the defendant's car. The court determined that the trial judge properly admitted testimony from the defendant's parole officer because "the State offered [the parole officer's] testimony to establish [the defendant's] parole status and the fact that he knew illegal drug possession was a parole violation" that would result in his incarceration if detected by the police officer. Id. at 1115. The court added that while the defendant's parole status was not independently admissible during the guilt phase of his trial, "it became relevant and admissible when it was linked to a motive for murdering the police officer." Id.