Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and James W. McIntire, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Melynda L. Melear, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.
Trevor Lewis appeals his conviction and sentence for armed burglary of a dwelling, robbery with a firearm, and aggravated battery. He raises two issues on appeal. First, he argues that the trial court erred in allowing the admission of hearsay testimony. Second, he asserts error in the denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal. We reverse on the admission of hearsay testimony for reasons hereinafter explained, and find its admission was harmful and prejudicial. Our holding renders the second issue moot.
Lewis was charged by information with armed burglary of a dwelling (Count I), robbery with a firearm (Count II), and aggravated battery (Count III). The case proceeded to trial. The jury returned a guilty verdict on all three counts.
The details of the incident are not important to the resolution of the issue before us. The issue before us stems from the investigating officer's testimony at trial. On direct examination, the officer testified that he received the name of a possible suspect from two non-testifying witnesses. Specifically, the officer was asked about canvassing the area after the incident. Defense counsel objected to the following portion of the officer's testimony:
[State] Q: Did that turn anything up for you?
[Officer] A: It did. The room directly next door provided some very valuable information regarding the case.
[State] Q: Did you speak to a specific person in that room?
[Officer] A: I spoke to two people who were staying in that room.
[State] Q: Were they male or female?
[Officer] A: Female.
[State] Q: And after speaking to those individuals did you get the name of ...