final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Jack Schramm Cox, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Ian Seldin, Assistant Public
Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Mark J. Hamel,
Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.
Ronmika Lashelle Coates appeals her conviction and sentence
for grand theft. She argues the trial court erred in
admitting a state exhibit under the business records
exception to the rule against hearsay. Because the exhibit
was not made at or near the time of the incident nor was it
made as part of a regular business practice, we reverse and
remand for a new trial.
December 15, 2014, appellant was apprehended by Home
Depot's asset protection team after one of the security
employees observed her put numerous items in her purse and
attempt to leave the store without paying for them. After she
was stopped, the security employee entered information about
the items taken, including SKU number, price, and quantity,
into the store's case management system in accordance
with standard operating procedure.
trial, during the asset protection manager's testimony,
the state sought to admit a list of the stolen items, along
with a business record certification that had been signed and
notarized by the manager. The list was dated September 25,
2015, which was 4 days before trial. The manager testified
that the information in the list was compiled the day of the
incident, by the asset protection employee who observed and
apprehended appellant, that the information was kept in the
ordinary course of business, and that it was Home Depot's
regular practice to keep the record. Appellant timely
objected to the list.
dire by appellant, the manager clarified that, while the
information contained in the list was compiled the
day of the incident, this particular list was created several
days before trial, at the prosecutor's request.
ruling, the trial court conducted its own inquiry. The
court's questions focused on the information
contained in the list. The manager confirmed that the
information was kept and maintained in the ordinary course of
business on the date of the incident and was retrieved from
Home Depot's case management system, and that he had
knowledge as to how the information was prepared in the
system. The manager further testified that the total value of
stolen items on the list was a true and accurate reflection
of the value of the stolen property on the date of the
incident. Appellant maintained her hearsay objection.
trial court overruled appellant's objection, finding that
the business records exception was met "as to the
information contained in the line items." It found that
it was "a compilation of data maintained by the
corporation on that date, and it's been testified to by a
person who is either the records custodian or someone with
knowledge of that."
argues the trial court erred in admitting the list as a
business record because it was neither made at or near the
time of the incident nor was it created as part of Home
Depot's regular business practice.
business records exception to the rule against hearsay is
codified in section 90.803(6), Florida Statutes (2015). It
memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, in any form,
of acts, events, conditions, opinion, or diagnosis, made at
or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a
person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly
conducted business activity and if it was the regular
practice of that business ...