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Lamb v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

May 2, 2018

ARKHEEM J. LAMB, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; Glenn D. Kelley, Judge; L.T. Case No. 502016CF004626A.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Siobhan Helene Shea, Special Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Jessenia J. Concepcion, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Gerber, C.J.

         The defendant appeals from his convictions, arising from a carjacking, for grand theft of a vehicle and grand theft. The defendant primarily argues that the trial court erred in permitting the state to introduce into evidence a Facebook video showing the defendant sitting in the stolen car and wearing the victim's stolen watch just hours after the carjacking occurred. We find no error in any of the trial court's decisions arising from the Facebook video's use at trial. Therefore, we affirm the convictions.

We present this opinion in the following sections:
A. The trial:
1. The carjackings;
2. The investigation;
3. The Facebook video.
B. Our review of the defendant's arguments:
1. The discovery objection;
2. The authentication objection;
3. The best evidence objection; and
4. The motion for judgment of acquittal.

         A. The Trial

         The trial involved two separate carjackings, occurring just a few hours apart and about thirty miles apart. The jury convicted the defendant on the charges arising from the first carjacking, but acquitted him of the charges arising from the second carjacking. We will describe both carjackings because the evidence was intertwined.

         1. The Carjackings

         Around 10:00 p.m., the first victim was sitting in his car near a hotel in Jupiter. A man opened the first victim's door, put a gun to the first victim's head, and told the first victim to get out. A second man approached, and a pickup truck pulled up. The two men pushed the first victim to the ground and drove off in the first victim's car. The pickup truck followed. The men, besides taking the first victim's car, also took the first victim's phone, watch, wallet, and cash, including Cuban money.

         Sometime after 1:00 a.m. that night in Greenacres, located about thirty miles south of the Jupiter hotel, the second victim pulled his car into an apartment complex. Two men then approached, one with a silver gun. The men took the second victim's phone and other items, and drove away in the second victim's car. Then a car matching the description of the first victim's car drove past the second victim, with the driver's side window partially rolled down. That car's driver said something to the second victim before driving away behind the second victim's car. The second victim could not see what that driver looked like or whether other people were in the car.

         The following morning, both victims' cars were found in the same area in a city located between Jupiter and Greenacres. Both the first victim's phone and the second victim's phone were found in the first victim's car. The first victim's watch, wallet, and cash were missing.

         2. The Investigation

         A Jupiter police detective investigated the first carjacking at the Jupiter hotel. A Palm Beach County sheriff's detective investigated the second carjacking in Greenacres. The detectives came into contact with each other because the carjackings were similar.

          The first victim identified two of the codefendants as the carjackers. However, the first victim did not identify the defendant as one of the carjackers or one of the persons inside the pick-up truck.

         The second victim also identified one of the codefendants as the carjacker holding the gun. However, the second victim did not identify the defendant as the other carjacker or one of the persons inside the car matching the description of the first driver's car.

         The detectives determined that the codefendants did not live in Jupiter, so the detectives pieced together the codefendants' connections to each other. During that investigation, the detectives found that the defendant and codefendants had connections to each other from being stopped by law enforcement on prior occasions. They all lived in the city where the cars were found.

         The detectives obtained a search warrant for one of the codefendant's phones. On that phone, the detectives found pictures of that codefendant holding a silver gun matching the gun used in the carjackings. When one of the other codefendants was arrested, he possessed a silver gun matching the gun used in the carjackings.

         3. The Facebook Video

         The Jupiter police department also found on the codefendant's phone a Facebook video showing both stolen cars. The detectives showed the Facebook video to the first victim before trial.

         At trial, the state, without having moved the Facebook video into evidence, asked the first victim if he recognized the defendant in the video he was shown. The defendant objected based on the best evidence rule. The trial court overruled the defendant's objection. The first victim testified that the defendant could be seen on the Facebook video driving the first victim's car and wearing the first victim's watch, while one of the codefendants was sitting in the front passenger seat counting the first victim's Cuban money.

         After both the first victim and second victim testified, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's detective testified. The state, without having moved the Facebook video into evidence, asked the detective if he recognized anyone in the Facebook video. The defendant objected based on the best evidence rule. The trial court overruled the defendant's objection. The detective testified he recognized the defendant in the Facebook video. The detective also testified that the Facebook video had been posted approximately twenty-one minutes after the second carjacking.

         The state then moved to enter the Facebook video into evidence. The defendant objected, and the following exchange occurred at sidebar:

THE COURT: I don't think it's been authenticated yet, has it?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: That is our objection, Judge. We believe that this was extracted from the Jupiter Police Department, an agent from the Jupiter Police Department, and they have not yet testified. This witness [the Sheriff's ...

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