Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer

Can Police Use a Pre-Recorded Interview with a Victim as Evidence Against You at Trial?

shutterstock_1268275615

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to “confront” the witnesses against them. In plain terms, you have the right to cross-examine in court any witness who offers testimony on behalf of the prosecution. This is why, as a general rule, the prosecution cannot introduce hearsay that has not been subject to cross-examination. Florida law does make some exceptions, however, for situations where in-person cross-examination at trial is not a viable option.

Appeals Court: Child Protection Interview Was Inadmissible Hearsay

A recent decision from the Florida First District Court of Appeals, Phillips v. State, illustrates a case where these exceptions did not apply. In this particular case, prosecutors in Santa Rosa County charged the defendant with six counts related to alleged sex crimes against his daughter. The child did not testify at the defendant’s trial. Instead, prosecutors played a video recording of a child protection interview (CPI) conducted with the child by law enforcement. The jury subsequently found the defendant guilty on all counts.

The defendant did not object to the introduction of the CPI at trial. The First District said it therefore could only grant the defendant relief unless the decision to admit the CPI was a “fundamental error” that deprived the defendant of his Sixth Amendment rights. Here, the Second District said that one of the six convictions was so tainted by fundamental error and justified a new trial.

Unlike the other charges, which were “independently supported” by other testimony and evidence, the appellate court said one charge was only backed by the victim’s statements on the CPI. The CPI itself, the Court explained, was witnessed by a police detective and used similar techniques to an interrogation. Indeed, the entire CPI was “motivated by a search for evidence.” As such, the defendant had the right to confront and cross-examine any statements made on those recordings.

Court Clarifies the Requirement of a 12-Person Jury in “Capital” Cases

Separately, the First District also rejected the defendant’s challenge to the makeup of the jury at his trial. Unlike many states, Florida typically uses a six-person jury to try crimes. A 12-person jury is only required in “capital cases.” Under Florida law, sexual battery of a child under the age of the 12 is a capital offense–i.e., it carries the possibility of a death sentence. Since the defendant here was charged with sexual battery, he argued he was entitled to a 12-person jury.

The First District, however, noted that despite what Florida law might say, the U.S. Supreme Court has barred the use of capital punishment in cases involving child rape. The defendant therefore was never facing the death penalty. So while sexual battery may continue to be a “capital crime,” the defendant’s trial was not a “capital case” requiring the larger jury.

Contact Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Jose Baez Today

If you are on trial for any serious crime, it is crucial that you work with a lawyer who will work to safeguard your constitutional rights. Orlando criminal attorney Jose Baez has the skill and experience to ensure that you receive a fair trial. Contact his office today to schedule a consultation.

Resource:

scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12357733289549433811

https://www.baezlawfirm.com/supreme-court-allows-police-shooting-victim-to-proceed-with-civil-rights-lawsuit/

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Miami

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue #1410
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111
Orlando

Orlando Office

23 South Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms
Please review the highlighted fields. They are required.
DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2021 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab