FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
Application for Review of the Decision of the District Court
of Appeal - Direct Conflict of Decisions Third District -
Case No. 3D15-2339 (Miami-Dade County)
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Natasha Baker-Bradley,
Assistant Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami,
Florida, for Petitioner.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, Michael
Mervine, Acting Bureau Chief, and Nikole Hiciano, Assistant
Attorney General, Miami, Florida, for Respondent.
for review the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal
in Rodriguez v. State, 215 So.3d 194 (Fla. 3d DCA
2017), which expressly and directly conflicts with our
decision in State v. Lee, 531 So.2d 133 (Fla. 1988),
on the harmless error standard of review. We have
jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla.
State v. DiGuilio, 491 So.2d 1129 (Fla. 1986), this
Court set out the test to be applied in determining whether
an error is harmless:
The test is not a sufficiency-of-the-evidence, a correct
result, a not clearly wrong, a substantial evidence, a more
probable than not, a clear and convincing, or even an
overwhelming evidence test. Harmless error is not a device
for the appellate court to substitute itself for the
trier-of-fact by simply weighing the evidence. The focus is
on the effect of the error on the trier-of-fact. The question
is whether there is a reasonable possibility that the error
affected the verdict. The burden to show the error was
harmless must remain on the state. If the appellate court
cannot say beyond a reasonable doubt that the error did not
affect the verdict, then the error is by definition harmful.
Id. at 1139.
conflict case, State v. Lee, this Court addressed
the following question of great public importance:
DOES THE ERRONEOUS ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE OF COLLATERAL CRIMES
REQUIRE REVERSAL OF APPELLANT'S CONVICTION WHERE THE
ERROR HAS NOT RESULTED IN A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE BUT THE
STATE HAS FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
THAT THERE IS NO REASONABLE POSSIBILITY THAT THE ERROR
AFFECTED THE JURY VERDICT?
531 So.2d at 134. Answering the question in the affirmative,
this Court declined to modify the DiGuilio test in
favor of the "miscarriage of justice" test codified
by the Legislature in section 59.041, Florida Statutes
(2017). Lee, 531 So.2d at 136.
since reaffirmed this harmless error standard numerous times.
See, e.g., Ventura v. State, 29
So.3d 1086, 1088 (Fla. 2010) (holding that the Third District
"improperly utilized an 'overwhelming evidence'
test" when considering whether the error was harmless);
Williams v. State, 863 So.2d 1189, 1190 (Fla. 2003)
(quashing in part the Third District's decision because
it determined that the error "did not deprive
[defendant] of a fair trial" rather than considering
whether the error was harmless under the standard set forth
in DiGuilio); Knowles v. State, 848 So.2d
1055, 1058-59 (Fla. 2003) ("[T]he DiGuilio
standard remains the benchmark of harmless error
analysis."); Goodwin v. State, 751 So.2d 537,
546 (Fla. 1999) ("[T]he DiGuilio standard of
harmless error remains the applicable analysis to be employed
in determining whether the error requires a reversal on
case the Third District departed from the DiGuilio