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Is there anything legally wrong with presenting evidence of

criminal behavior in a Florida...
Is there anything legally wrong with presenting evidence of criminal behavior in a Florida civil probate trial as a means to emphasize the need to have the court enforce the option of shifting the burden of proof to the defendant and of removing the widowed defendant from control of her ill-gotten assets obtained from her husband, until the case is resolved?
Scenario: A wife A of a decedent husband B has exercised overwhelmingly provable abusive control and other actions supporting the criminal charge under F.S. 825.102 for many years. I believe it is a criminal offence to "threaten a person with criminal action" as a means of gaining an advantage in a civil matter. (She is being sued by the children of her decedent husband, not hers). However, this would merely be an attempt in a civil court where the standard of proof is "preponderance" as opposed to "beyond a reasonable doubt" to indicate that the defendant probable criminal liability certainly is sufficient to temporarily remove her from any possibility of "wasting the asset" which is the subject of the lawsuit.
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
10/21/2017
socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,350
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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Hello again,

1. It is a violation of the Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to threaten criminal prosecution as a means of forcing settlement of a civil dispute. However, this has no application to evidence provided to a court -- because that's not a threat -- it's evidence.

2. Evidence of criminal liability, even if not prosecuted, is admissible to prove character, but only if character is at issue in the case. If a person is a fiduciary who has a duty of loyalty and fiduciary, specific evidence of bad acts or character is admissible to prove a propensity for moral turpitude/dishonesty. But, the evidence is not admissible to prove specific conduct of the fiduciary breach (unless, of course, the evidence actually proves the breach).

3. In civil court, there is no "beyond reasonable doubt" standard. Everything is by a "preponderance of evidence," except evidence to disprove the validity of an instrument (e.g., deed, will, etc.), or to prove a fraud related to the creation of the instrument.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
Excellent answer. Can the lawyer making the civil case express the opinion that the strength of the evidence is strong enough to create criminal liability and should therefore be more than enough to prove the necessary civil liability required by law? Can and might the judge sua sponte inform State prosecutor if the evidence is sufficient?

Can the lawyer making the civil case express the opinion that the strength of the evidence is strong enough to create criminal liability and should therefore be more than enough to prove the necessary civil liability required by law?

A: In a motion for summary judgment, or in a closing argument at trial, yes.

Can and might the judge sua sponte inform State prosecutor if the evidence is sufficient?

A: In my experience, a judge sitting in a civil matter will not report criminal liability, unless a party confesses to a criminal act in open court.

Hope this helps and thanks again for using Jutsanswer!

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