Florida Law Weekly – Nov. 20, 2020
Walding v. State of Florida – 4th DCA
In this case, a defendant appealed his conviction alleging that improper hearsay testimony was presented at trial. The Court held that an officer’s testimony recounting the defendant’s sister’s excited utterance that “he has a gun” was properly admitted (although a knife was used during the crime). The Court found that the State established a sufficient link between firearm testimony and the charged crime, and that the testimony was relevant to prove consciousness of guilt and desire to evade prosecution. The Court held that that the testimony alone was unlikely to suggest to the jury that the defendant committed the crime.
Sears v. State of Florida – 4th DCA
In this case, the Court addressed an issue regarding jury selection. The Court held that the Trial Court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing a juror after determining that the juror could not be impartial, without allowing the defense to question or rehabilitate the juror. The Court held that the right of the defense to question the venire is not absolute. When a juror expresses reservations based on immutable opinions and attitudes that arise from personal life experiences or otherwise firmly held beliefs, it may not be necessary or even appropriate for the Trial Court to attempt to rehabilitate the juror into rejection of their beliefs. The juror in this case commented that the legal system was flawed and prejudiced, which constituted more than a mere expression of doubt that they could be impartial.
Bailey v. State of Florida – 1st DCA
In this case, the Court held that the trial Court did not err in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress warrantlessly obtained GPS records which tracked defendant’s movements in a borrowed car, whose owner had consented to GPS tracking by a third party. The Court held that no search occurred when law enforcement obtained the borrowed vehicle’s GPS data because the defendant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements while operating a vehicle that he did not own. The Court held that short-term monitoring of a person’s movements on public streets is reasonable, while long-term monitoring impinges on one’s expectation of privacy. The Court stated that the GPS only tracked the car, and more evidence was required to place the defendant in it. Additionally, since law enforcement played no role in recording the information, and simply availed itself of the advantages afforded by the electronic recording, any expectation of privacy on the appellants part was not objectively reasonable.
ESJ JI Operations, LLC v. Domeck – 3rd DCA
In this case, the Court held that the Trial Court properly entered summary judgment against a counterclaim alleging fraud. The Appellant had an agreement for building and operating an adventure park on appellee’s property. When the Appellee failed to perform, the Appellant terminated the license agreement. The Appellee then filed suit and the appellant countersued, alleging breach of contract and fraud. The Court found that summary judgment was appropriate because the damages sought in the fraud claim (unpaid rent) were identical to those recoverable in the breach of contract claim.