final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Jack S. Cox, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Erika Follmer, Assistant
Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Luke R.
Napodano, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
Burgess appeals his conviction and sentence for one count of
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Although
Appellant raises several issues on appeal, we find merit in
only one of his arguments, namely that the trial court
erroneously denied two of his cause challenges during jury
voir dire, defense counsel told the prospective jurors that
Appellant was a convicted felon and asked whether they would
still be able to deliberate without knowing more about the
felony conviction. The following colloquy ensued with
prospective juror 1.7:
[1.7]: I know it has nothing to do with it. I know it's
irrelevant to the case but my gut curiosity. . . . It
doesn't affect the case. I understand.
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: You want to know, right, but if you
didn't know do you think you would still be able to
deliberate and make a decision?
[1.7]: Yes. I think the problem for me in my honest opinion
if he's been convicted of a felony already and then where
there's smoke there's fire. It's almost like I
know we have to prove that he is guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt. But just that notion that something has already
happened in the past, which I don't like that but
that's just what -
. . .
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: I'm going to reduce what you said down
to something. Let me know if this is accurate, okay. I
don't want to put words in your mouth. It sounds to me
what you're saying is if we have a trial with someone
who's never had any criminal exposure to the system -
this whole presumption of innocence thing I would be able to
do it 100 percent. But when I find out that someone has a
felony conviction it makes it more difficult for me to
presume them 100 [percent] innocent at the start of trial?
[1.7]: Yes, it would make it more difficult than - right.
the end of voir dire, defense counsel asked the prospective
jurors whether Appellant's prior felony conviction would
weigh into their deliberation when assessing whether the
State had met its burden of proof. Prospective juror 1.7
answered that it would "probably affect [his]
decision." Defense counsel thereafter attempted to
clarify prospective juror 1.7's response by asking
"[y]ou think it would affect your decision? You know
it's not supposed to, but it ...