final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 15-17219 Richard L. Hersch, Judge.
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Harvey J. Sepler and James
Odell, Assistant Public Defenders, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Christina L. Dominguez,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and LAGOA and EMAS, JJ.
Jackson was charged by information with armed burglary of an
occupied structure with an assault or battery, domestic
battery by strangulation, and kidnapping. Following a trial,
the jury returned a verdict finding Jackson guilty of
trespass (as a lesser included offense of burglary) and
misdemeanor battery (as a lesser included offense of domestic
battery by strangulation). The jury acquitted Jackson of the
appeal, Jackson contends he is entitled to a new trial
because the prosecutor made improper "golden rule"
arguments in closing. We affirm, concluding that the
prosecutor's arguments were not improper, but were
relevant arguments supported by the evidence at trial, and
were made in fair response to the defense's trial theory
and closing argument.
AND ARGUMENTS AT TRIAL
August 19, 2015, the victim was walking with a friend to a
neighbor's house around the corner when Jackson pulled up
in his car and called the victim over to talk with him.
Jackson and the victim had previously been in an on-again,
off-again relationship. The victim told Jackson that she
would talk with him when she returned from the neighbor's
house. When the victim returned a few minutes later, however,
she did not see Jackson or his car. The victim said goodbye
to her friend and went inside her house.
after entering her house, Jackson came up from behind the
victim and put her in a chokehold. The victim began to lose
consciousness, and Jackson proceeded to drag the victim by
her hair into the bedroom where he beat her. Jackson then
took the victim into the bathroom where he placed her in the
bathtub. While in the bathtub, the victim pretended to be
passed out. When Jackson left the bathroom, the victim got
out of the bathtub and ran through her back door, fully nude,
towards her neighbor, who was outside. The neighbor saw the
victim, and also saw Jackson running behind the victim,
holding a ceramic crucifix above his head. The neighbor
grabbed a glass bottle, broke it in two and used it to
threaten Jackson. Jackson started to laugh, saying "God
told me to do it." The police arrived soon thereafter,
and Jackson was taken into custody.
trial, the defense's theory was that the incident
didn't even happen, given the absence of any visible
injuries on the victim which would be consistent with her
description of the vicious attack by Jackson. In closing
argument, defense counsel attempted to point out this absence
DEFENSE COUNSEL: [The victim's] version of events is not
really what happened that day.
. . . .
[T]here is no[t] even [a] break-up or anything that happens
prior to this.
The defendant just happens to be in her home and just happens
to decide that he just wants to attack her.
. . . .
He must have been holding on to [the victim] so tightly that
she passed out and could not remember and lost consciousness.
Yet, we talked about corroboration in jury selection. You
have these photographs [of the victim's injuries].
There's no marks around her neck. There's no bruising