Evidence Rule 410


Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

Evidence Rule 410 -- Inadmissibility of Pleas, Offers of Pleas, and Related Statements
State v. Jeffries, 119 Ohio St. 3d 265, 2008-Ohio-3865 – Prior to plea negotiations the defendant took and passed a polygraph. As part of a cooperation agreement with the prosecutor, the results of the test were made known and a copy of her statement turned over. She failed a subsequent polygraph and the deal fell apart. Nonetheless, her statement to the first polygraphist was admissible since it was made prior to the commencement of plea negotiations. Syllabus: “Statements that were not made in the course of plea discussions are not protected by Evid. R. 410, even if the statements were later provided to the state in the course of plea discussions.”
State v. Frazier (1995), 73 Ohio St. 3d 323 -- Syllabus: "In determining admissibility of statements made during alleged plea discussions, the trial court must first determine whether, at the time of the statements, the accused had a subjective expectation that a plea was being negotiated. The trial court must then determine whether such an expectation was reasonable under the circumstances. Evid. R. 410, analyzed."
State ex rel. Celebrezze v. Howard (1991), 77 Ohio App. 3d 387, 391 -- "Ohio courts have held that Evid. R. 410 applies only to plea negotiations and where no plea is entered, as in the case of a grant of immunity, then the exclusionary provisions of Evid. R. 410 do not apply."
State v. Kidder (1987), 32 Ohio St. 3d 279, 285 -- Statements by the defendant during police interrogation relative to dropping charges did not amount to plea negotiations, which would be inadmissible under Evid. R. 410. Note that amended Evid. R. 410(A)(5) now requires presence of counsel for one or both sides if discussion is to be inadmissible.
State v. Mapes (1985), 19 Ohio St. 3d 108, 111 -- "Crim. R. 11(B)(2) and Evid. R. 410 prohibit only the admission of a no contest plea. These rules do not prohibit the admission of a conviction entered upon that plea when that conviction is made relevant by statute (as an element of an offense or specification)." Also see Steinke v. Allstate Ins. Co. (1993), 86 Ohio App. 3d 798.
State v. Davis (1980), 70 Ohio App. 2d 48 -- Headnote 2: "An accused, after entering a plea of not guilty, may not introduce evidence to the jury of statements made by him during plea negotiations, since the probative value, if any, of evidence relating to settlement negotiations is far outweighed by its possible prejudicial and misleading effect upon the jury."
State v. Tillman (1990), 66 Ohio App. 3d 464, 467-468 -- It is improper for a prosecutor to assert in closing argument that he refused to plea bargain with the defendant.

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Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
Contents may not be duplicated without express permission.