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Pierre-Louis v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

November 22, 2017

Schmertz Pierre-Louis Jr., Appellant,
v.
The State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Rodolfo A. Ruiz, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 13-24416

          Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Jonathan Greenberg, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Jonathan Tanoos, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Before ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SUAREZ and EMAS, JJ.

          EMAS, J.

         Following a jury trial on the charge of second-degree murder, Schmertz Pierre-Louis, Jr. was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to thirty years' state prison followed by ten years' probation.

         On appeal, Pierre-Louis, Jr. asserts four claims of error during closing argument. We affirm, and write to address one of those claims.[1]

         Pierre-Louis, Jr. contends that, during closing argument, the State improperly commented on his right not to testify at trial. Appellant relies for this contention upon the following passage in the State's rebuttal closing:

PROSECUTOR: [Defense counsel] says that paying to stay at a hotel is not against the law. Paying to change your clothes and put clothes on is not against the law. Dreadlocks are not against the law. Cutting your dreadlocks off is not against the law.
DEFENSE: Objection, Your Honor. Motion.
PROSECUTOR: Shooting somebody is. He is not on the stand because he paid for a hotel room.
DEFENSE: Objection. ...

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