final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 17-5405 Milton Hirsch, Judge.
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Natasha Baker-Bradley,
Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Sandra Lipman, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
EMAS, FERNANDEZ and LOGUE, JJ.
affirm the judgment and sentence below, finding no merit in
appellant's contention that the trial court abused its
discretion in reading back to the jury a specific portion of
the victim's trial testimony in response to a jury note
sent to the judge during deliberations.
Mendez was charged with committing an aggravated battery with
great bodily harm upon Luisa Donaile, and a battery upon Ms.
Donaile's fiancé, Reynaldo Araujo. It was alleged
that Mendez stabbed Ms. Donaile with a knife, causing a
laceration and requiring stitches.
her testimony, Ms. Donaile testified that Mendez and an
unidentified accomplice started a knife fight and attacked
her and her fiancé. Luisa testified at trial that
Mendez was the person who stabbed her with a knife.
presentation of the evidence and closing arguments, the jury
retired to deliberate. During deliberations, the jury sent
out a note to the judge, which asked: "What was
Luisa's answer when asked who had stabbed her?"
the jury did not expressly use the words
"testimony" or "read back," the trial
court concluded that the jury was requesting to have read
back to them a specific portion of the testimony given by Ms.
Donaile during the trial. The stenographer was able to locate
the pertinent portion of the trial testimony, and the trial
court determined, with the agreement of both counsel, that
the identified portion of the trial testimony was directly
responsive to the jury's question. Nevertheless, the
defense objected to the read-back, requesting instead that
the jury simply be told to rely on its recollection of the
testimony. The trial court overruled the objection, stating:
"I think where they have asked for in effect a
read-back, they have asked for the testimony. . . I am
hard-pressed to deny that to the jury. . . . I think I have
to let them hear it." The jury returned to the
courtroom, and the court reporter read back that portion of
Ms. Donaile's testimony in response to ...