Your Right to a Fair Trial in Palm Beach County
As a criminal trial lawyer, I am always fighting to assure that my clients receive a fair trial. Fair trials are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but the criminal defense attorney makes the words in the Constitution come alive. One area of concern; to ensure a fair trial for those facing criminal charges, is the right of the criminal defendant to confront those who accuse them of criminal acts.
The right of the defendant to face their accuser is born out of the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The 6th Amendment “Confrontation Clause” specifically states: “In all criminal proceedings, the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” The “Confrontation Clause,” contains very important rights that allow a criminal defendant to have those who are accusing them of crime to: be present at trial through the subpoena power; be made to testify at trial through being called as a witness; and be vigorously cross-examined at trial. Those rights contained in the “Confrontation Clause” are enjoyed by all accused; and provide protection against government overreach and malicious prosecution.
For example, if not for the 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause, Law Enforcement Officers could come into court and testify as to what other people told them about the facts of the case. One area of concern that pops up on a regular basis is the information provided by an eyewitness to a 911 operator.
Additionally, this information from the 911 telephone caller is then provided to the investigation Law Enforcement Officer, who then writes the caller’s information in their report. This written information in the law enforcement officer’s report is not what the officer physically witnessed but what he was told; hearsay of others.
For example, if a 911 caller stated to dispatch that a “man” holding a “gun” is knocking on my door, this information would be recorded on the 911 tape. The 911 caller would likely remain on the telephone with dispatch, until law enforcement officials arrived to the caller’s location, and investigate the allegations being made in the 911 call. When Law Enforcement officers arrive on scene, they may find the “person knocking on the door with the gun,” which they can easily ascertain the veracity of the 911 caller’s story to police. But what happens when the alleged criminal defendant is not found on scene?
If the person knocking on the door with the alleged gun flees the area, the 911 dispatcher will send out a “Be On the Lookout’ or BOLO for a person matching the description of the person knocking on the door with the gun. If Law Enforcement Officers come into contact with a person, who matches the description given to them by dispatch, then the person matching the BOLO description will be apprehended. This scenario of double hearsay plays out thousands of times per month in Palm Beach County, FL; which leads to many arrest.
The scenario described above becomes ripe for harmful hearsay, when the deputy sheriff or other law enforcement officer wants to testify at trial as to what he was told by the 911 operator; which was told to the operator by the complaining witness. This boot strapping of double hearsay learned from the complaining witness and 911 operator, leads its way to the bolstering of unlawful “hearsay” evidence, by the testifying law enforcement officer.
The officer is boot strapping the out of court statements, made by the 911 operator and complaining witness, into his sworn testimony and adopting it as his own recollection of the facts. This bolstering of evidence if gone unchecked, meaning not properly objected to by competent criminal defense counsel, can be harmful and lead to wrongful convictions of the accused. Juries are comprised of people from the community, and their perception of guilt can be easily persuaded by a law enforcement officer’s testimony, that is used to bolster other possible witnesses testimony or worse those witness that do not even testify.
In order to prevent this testimonial harm to his criminal clients during trial, Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney, Andrew D. Stine, has developed the following motion to “prohibit unlawful hearsay” from being introduced into criminal proceedings. This motion is being made freely to the general public, including other criminal lawyers, in hopes that it will be used to assure all criminal defendants receive a fair trial. West Palm Beach Criminal Trial Lawyer, Andrew D. Stine, has decided to revealed his trial secrets to help others in need. Remember, if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges do like thousands of others have done and Hire Stine or Do the Time!
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT,
IN AND FOR PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA.
STATE OF FLORIDA, CASE NO.: 502013CF123456AXXXMB
MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDED TESTIMONY OF NON TESTIFYING WITNESS
COMES NOW the Defendant, (Client Name), by and through his undersigned counsel and files this Motion in Limine for this Honorable Court to enter an Order prohibiting the State’s witnesses from testifying to any information they received from (WITNESS) and the 911 operator as they were not listed by the State as a witnesses, was not subpoenaed by the State to testify and as a matter of fact will not be present to testify in this matter and as grounds therefore, states as follows:
The Defendant was stopped and arrested for carrying a concealed firearm and resisting a officer without violence on December 20, 2014. The Defendant was stopped by Deputy Sheriff Mock. According to the probable cause affidavit, Deputy Mock was responding to 620 Lantana Ave. in the City of Lake-Worth, FL in reference to a 911 call from (WITNESS). The 911 caller allegedly stated that two men were knocking at her door. The 911 caller also stated that she saw these two men earlier and one of them had a gun. She did not give any specific description of the individual she alleges was carrying a gun, other than he was black male.
Several Sheriff Units were dispatched to the scene. One unit saw two black males on the North East corner of Lantana Street and Douglas Street, which is one block from where the 911 telephone call was placed. Deputy Blasco arrived at the location, exited his vehicle and ordered the Defendant to stop.
Defendant who was not committing any illegal acts, by standing on a public street, was ordered to stop by the deputy. The deputy exited his patrol car and was going to approach Defendant. Defendant, not knowing the police were present began to run. Defendant then ran between residences and allegedly threw a black object into bushes. Defendant was subsequently corralled, seized and arrested by law enforcement.
A firearm was observed in the bushes where the black object was allegedly thrown. The firearm turned out to be stolen.
Under FL. Evid. Code 90.802 the Florida Hearsay Rule prohibits any witness, including law enforcement officers, from testifying as to what a witness told them, especially when the witness has not been listed by the State, has not been subpoenaed by the State and is not therefore available to testify here in this matter. Hearsay is a statement, oral, given to another out of court offer to prove the truth of a matter asserted. See Fl. Evid. Code 90.801.
Here it is anticipated that law enforcement officers will testify. It would be improper for them to testify as to what they were told by the 911 operator or the alleged witness (WITNESS NAME). Both alleged witnesses provided “hearsay” evidence and under FL. Evid. Code 90.802 such testimony is prohibited.
Furthermore, under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution it provides that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” Obviously, if this court allows the witnesses to testify as to out of court statements by the 911 operator and (WITNESS) the Confrontation Clause will be violated.
The Defendant is requesting that this Honorable Court enter an order prohibiting any witness to testify concerning what the 911 operator or (WITNESS) told them or what they heard from either individual.
ANDREW D. STINE, ESQ.
120 South Olive Avenue
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
Telephone: (561) 832-1170
Facsimile: (561) 832-1544
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing was delivered through e-mail of direct filing to the Office of State Attorney in and for Palm Beach County, and hand delivered to the Defendant, (CLIENT NAME) on this 4th day of March 2015.
s/ Andrew D. Stine
ANDREW D. STINE, ESQ.
Florida Bar No.
120 South Olive Avenue, Suite. 402
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Telephone: (561) 832-1170
Facsimile: (561) 832-1544