final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Samantha Schosberg Feuer, Judge; L.T. Case
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Siobhan Helene Shea,
Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Georgina
Jimenez-Orosa, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach,
William Dabbs appeals his convictions for first-degree
murder, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, and
aggravated assault with a firearm of a law enforcement
officer. We affirm three of Appellant's arguments without
comment. However, we find merit in
Appellant's argument related to discovery violations at
the beginning of the trial and hold that the trial court
reversibly erred by not granting a mistrial. We therefore
reverse for a new trial.
was charged with killing his co-worker, and for crimes
stemming from his flight from the scene. Appellant did not
dispute that he killed the victim, and instead relied on a
claim of self-defense. Part of this theory of defense was
that the firearm used to kill the victim was brought to the
scene by the victim himself, which Appellant wrestled from
the victim after the latter had aimed it toward Appellant. In
his opening statement, Appellant's attorney implied that
this gun was one of two or three guns known to be owned by
morning after opening statements and the first two
witnesses' testimony, Appellant brought to the
court's attention a possible discovery violation on the
part of the State. Apparently, the State had been surprised
by Appellant's theory that the gun was one of the
victim's known guns and had, overnight, acquired various
documents and secured a witness which would, together,
establish the current location of all of victim's known
guns. This evidence was intended to conclusively show that
the gun used in the crime-which had been recovered by law
enforcement-could not be one of the victim's own.
argued that he was procedurally prejudiced by this new
evidence because, had he known of it, he would have made a
different opening statement with a different theory of
defense. The trial court held a
Richardson hearing and
determined that there was a discovery violation, but that the
violation was not willful and that the violation was trivial.
The court also indicated it recognized that Appellant was
procedurally prejudiced, and Appellant argued that the remedy
should be a mistrial. However, after a brief recess, the
court changed its mind and determined that there was no
procedural prejudice based on the Second District's
holding in Stone v. State, 547 So.2d 657 (Fla. 2d
DCA 1989). As such, the documents were admitted into evidence
and the witness was allowed to testify.
jury convicted Appellant of all counts against him, and he
a Richardson hearing is properly conducted is
reviewed de novo, but the rulings on each of the
required prongs are reviewed for an abuse of discretion.
Goldsmith v. State, 182 So.3d 824, 827 (Fla. 4th DCA
possible discovery violation is raised to the trial court,
"the court must conduct a Richardson hearing to
inquire about the circumstances surrounding the state's
violation of the discovery rules and examine the possible
prejudice to the defendant." Jones v. State, 32
So.3d 706, 710 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010). Part of this analysis
requires determining whether a violation "had a
prejudicial effect on the opposing party's trial
preparation." Id. (quoting McDuffie v.
State, 970 So.2d 312, 321 (Fla. 2007)). Prejudice exists
"if there is a reasonable probability that the
defendant's trial preparation or strategy would have been
materially different had the violation not occurred."
Cox v. State, 819 So.2d 705, 712 (Fla. 2002)
(quoting Pomeranz v. State, 703 So.2d 465, 468 (Fla.