Yes, Britton is still good law. I don't know why you call it a "back door." It's provided for by the evidence rules and case law, which was my point: in self-defense cases, it is not necessary for the accused to have previously known the victim in order to introduce evidence about the victim to show he was the aggressor. The front door is wide open in this regard.
It's because the issue doesn't go to state of mind (whether GZ was reasonably in fear) but to the victim's actions and whether he was the aggressor.
The Florida Evidence Manual:
Section 90.404(1)(b) allows evidence of a pertinent trait of character of the victim of a crime to be offered by an accused; or by the prosecution to rebut the trait; or evidence of a character trait of peacefulness of the victim offered by the prosecution in a homicide case to rebut evidence that the victim was the aggressor.
Dwyer v. State, 743 So. 2d 46, 48 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 1999)
Generally, evidence of a victim's character is inadmissible, but a defendant who alleges self-defense can show, through the testimony of another witness, that the alleged victim had a propensity for violence, thereby inferring that the alleged victim was the aggressor. Smith v. State, 606 So. 2d 641 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992); see also Ehrhardt, Florida Evidence § 404.6 (1999 ed.); Graham, Handbook of Florida Evidence § 404.1 (1987).
A defendant's prior knowledge of the victim's reputation for violence is irrelevant, because the evidence is offered to show the conduct of the victim, rather than the defendant's state of mind. Ehrhardt. Accordingly, evidence of one of the victim's reputation for violence was not prohibited by Dwyer's lack of prior knowledge of that victim's character traits.
Smith v. State, 606 So. 2d 641, 642-643 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1992)
Florida permits a defendant in a criminal case to introduce evidence of the violent reputation or character of a victim providing there is a showing of self defense on the part of the defendant. Hodge v. State, 315 So.2d 507 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975). One legitimate basis for the admission of such evidence is for the purpose of showing that the victim was the first aggressor. Fine v. State, 70 Fla. 412, 70 So. 379 (1915). When a defendant offers evidence for this purpose, it is unnecessary for him to show that he had prior knowledge of the victim's propensities. Banks v. State, 351 So.2d 1071 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977). Pino v. Koelber, 389 So. 2d 1191, 1194 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 1980)
Whether the defense will be allowed to introduce the evidence it discovers depends on the nature of the evidence. Obviously, until the defense knows what information exists, if any, it's impossible to say whether it's admissible. But it is discoverable .
The state filed a response
today to the defense subpoenas for school records and did not object per se. It says character evidence as to Trayvon is inadmissible and cites the jury instruction and the entire chapter 776.
See Paragraph 10
The state says anything TM did before the day of the shooting is irrelevant and inadmissible and says they didn't know each other beforehand. The state ignores that such information could come in for the purpose of showing he was the aggressor -- just not to show Zimmerman was reasonably afraid of TM.
Which brings us back to why the school and other records are discoverable and O'Mara was right to subpoena them. They could contain information that would support GZ;s defense that TM was the aggressor.