CALVIN W. DOWD, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Pinellas County; Michael F.
H. Trevena and Cynthia E. Richards, Largo, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Jonathan P.
Hurley, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee.
W. Dowd appeals from his judgment and sentence for lewd and
lascivious molestation. He raises three issues in this
appeal, none of which require reversal.
first challenges the trial court's order denying his
motion to suppress the post-Miranda statements he
made to sheriff's detectives. Dowd argues the totality of
the circumstances demonstrate the statements are the product
of coercive police tactics designed to extract an involuntary
confession. We disagree. When a defendant alleges his
statement is the product of police coercion, courts must
determine the voluntariness of the confession by examining
the totality of the circumstances. Traylor v. State,
596 So.2d 957, 964 (Fla. 1992). Dowd argues the trial court
erred because it evaluated each of the detectives'
tactics separately instead of cumulatively. The trial
court's order demonstrates otherwise. The sixteen-page
order shows the trial court thoroughly considered each factor
Dowd raised as a part of its larger analysis of the totality
of the circumstances. We find no error in the trial
court's analysis or in its conclusion that "[t]he
admission was a free choice made by a man who appeared
burdened by a secret and relieved, even if only temporarily,
by its revelation."
also challenges the trial court's decision to allow
Willams Rule evidence. We need not decide whether
the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the
challenged evidence because after a careful review of the
record on appeal, we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt
that the error, if any, did not contribute to the verdict.
See State v. DiGuilio, 491 So.2d 1129, 1135 (Fla.
Dowd argues the trial court should have granted his motion to
interview jurors. Dowd filed the motion pursuant to Florida
Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.575. We review a trial
court's decision on a motion to interview jurors under an
abuse of discretion standard. Gray v. State, 72
So.3d 336, 337 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (quoting Anderson v.
State, 18 So.3d 501, 509 (Fla. 2009)). Rule 3.575 states
A party who has reason to believe that the verdict may be
subject to legal challenge may move the court for an order
permitting an interview of a juror or jurors to so determine.
The motion shall be filed within 10 days after the rendition
of the verdict, unless good cause is shown for the failure to
make the motion within that time. The motion shall state the
name of any juror to be interviewed and the reasons that the
party has to believe that the verdict may be subject to
challenge. After notice and hearing, the trial judge, upon a
finding that the verdict may be subject to challenge, shall
enter an order permitting the interview, and setting therein
a time and a place for the interview of the juror or jurors,
which shall be conducted in the presence of the court and the
parties. If no reason is found to believe that the verdict
may be subject to challenge, the court shall enter its order
denying permission to interview.
motion alleged that an alternate juror approached members of
his family and told them that before jury deliberations
began, some jurors had discussed the trial. The alternate
also said the jurors had elected the foreman on the first day
of trial. Dowd contends the alternate juror's allegations
demonstrate the "verdict may be subject to
challenge." Accordingly, rule 3.575 requires the trial
court to permit the interview.
trial court denied Dowd's motion after finding that the
facts alleged by the alternate juror either pertained to
matters that inhered in the verdict or that they did not
demonstrate a reasonable possibility that Dowd was
prejudiced. Dowd contends the trial court did not follow the
proper procedure because it determined the issue of prejudice
without first conducting any interviews. He argues that once
he presented facts showing juror misconduct, the court should
have ordered the interviews. After the interviews, the court
could then conduct an evidentiary hearing at which the State
would have to show the misconduct did not prejudice Dowd. We
disagree. The trial court correctly recognized that absent a
preliminary showing of prejudice, Dowd was not entitled to
time it was "common practice for counsel to interview
jurors at the end of a trial, both to find out 'what went
wrong' and for the general education of counsel."
Brassell v. Brethauer, 305 So.2d 217, 219 (Fla. 4th
DCA 1974); see also Branch v. State, 212 So.2d 29,
32 (Fla. 2d DCA 1968) (noting that after a trial, the
appellant's counsel had a conversation with a juror
"for his own betterment and education");
Bullard v. State, 324 So.2d 652, 655 (Fla. 1st DCA
1975) (Boyer, C.J., dissenting) (noting that it was an
attorney's "Right" to interview jurors after
the trial and that it "was customary for attorneys to
interview jurors after their discharge to determine whether
or not their verdict was subject to any legal
challenge"). In 1966, the Florida Bar asked the supreme
court to "amend Canon 23 . . . so as to terminate
indiscriminate interviewing of jurors by requiring that a
lawyer have 'reason to believe' [the verdict was
subject to challenge] and that he file notice of his
intention to interview." Brassell, 305 So.2d at
219-20 (quoting In Re Canon of Ethics Governing
Attorneys, 186 So.2d 509, 510 (Fla. 1966)); see also
Branch, 212 So.2d at 32 (noting that Canon 23 prohibits
inquiry by an attorney of a juror except to challenge for
23 was the predecessor of Disciplinary Rule 7-108(D) and
Ethical Consideration 7-29 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Ethical Consideration 7-29 identified the