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Beal v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

July 24, 2019

Timmy Beal, Appellant,
v.
The State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Martin Zilber, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 16-19007

          Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender and Robert Kalter, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, and Linda S. Katz, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Before EMAS, C.J., and FERNANDEZ, and GORDO, JJ.

          FERNANDEZ, J.

         Timmy Beal appeals his conviction and sentence. Beal was initially charged with grand theft auto, driving without a valid driver's license, trespass of a conveyance, and careless driving. The jury found Beal guilty of trespass of a conveyance, as the lesser included offense of grand theft of an automobile. The issue on appeal is whether the State's peremptory challenge of Mr. Weiser, a white male juror, was proper after the trial court found that white males are not a protected class. After a review of the record and relevant case law, we affirm that white males are part of the protected class of "gender" and reverse and remand this case for a new trial.

         Beal objected to the State's peremptory challenge of Mr. Weiser, requesting a gender neutral reason. The State began to volunteer a gender neutral explanation but was interrupted by the trial judge, who concluded that the challenge was improper as white men are not a protected class. The relevant section of the transcript is provided as follows:

[PROSECUTOR]: Yeah, One moment, your Honor. State is exercising its fourth peremptory on juror number 14.
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Judge, we ask for a gender race neutral reason, Mr. Weiser is a white male.
THE COURT: And what class is that?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: White male class, your Honor. And this could be based -
THE COURT: And I don't believe that's ...

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