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Farr v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

November 8, 2017

WAYNE DWIGHT FARR, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, St. Lucie County; Robert E. Belanger, Judge; L.T. Case No. 2015CF001932A.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Richard B. Greene, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Allen R. Geesey, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Levine, J.

         The issue presented for our review is whether the trial court erred in allowing the state to bring out the nature of appellant's prior convictions in cross-examination after appellant testified to the year in which he was charged for those crimes. We find that the trial court erred and as a result we reverse.[1]

         Appellant was charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Police officers conducted a traffic stop on appellant's vehicle. After appellant refused consent to search the vehicle, the officers called for a K-9 unit. Subsequently, the dog alerted to the rear passenger side of the vehicle. The officers discovered a glue tube with thirty-three crack cocaine rocks on the floorboard behind the driver's seat within arm's reach of appellant. After receiving his Miranda warnings, appellant denied owning the vehicle.

          Appellant testified in his defense. The parties agreed appellant had been previously convicted of a felony or crime of dishonesty four times. Before appellant testified, the trial court instructed appellant that when asked how many times he had been convicted of a felony or crime of dishonesty, appellant was to answer "four." He was told that if he answered differently, he would open the door to allowing the state to put the prior convictions in.

         The following exchange ensued when appellant testified:

Q Okay. And you've had four, uh, felony crimes or crimes of dishonesty?
A Yes sir, in 2010.
Q Okay. Well -
[THE STATE]: Uh, Your Honor, may we approach?
THE COURT: Yeah.
(Bench conference}
[THE STATE]: He got out of DOC in 2013.
THE COURT: Now he's opened the door.
[THE STATE]: Thank you.
(End of bench conference)
THE COURT: Any more questions?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: One moment, Judge. ...

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