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State v. Martin

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

July 31, 2019

State of Florida, Appellant,
Gregory Lamart Martin, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from a non-final order from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 11-3185 Eric W. Hendon, Judge.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, and Rachel Kamoutsas, Assistant Attorney General, for appellant.

          David S. Markus, for appellee.

          Before FERNANDEZ, LOGUE and SCALES, JJ.

          FERNANDEZ, J.

         The State of Florida appeals the trial court's order granting defendant Gregory Martin's motion to exclude certain portions of Martin's videotaped, post-Miranda statement made to police (videotape labeled "Disc2Dclip1_track2_w.mp4; Disk2Dclip2_track2_w.mp4; and Disc2PTclip5_track2_w.mp4"). The trial court found that under Section 90.403, Florida Statues (2010), the probative value of the proffered evidence was outweighed by the prejudice that would inure to the defendant should this statement be presented to the jury. However, we agree with the State that the trial court abused its discretion in making this finding because the admission of Martin's statement would not be unfairly prejudicial to him in Miami-Dade Circuit Court case number F11-3185 for the attempted murder, kidnapping, and sexual battery of O.R.F. We thus reverse the trial court's order excluding Martin's post-Miranda statement from the State's case-in-chief, the State's cross-examination of Martin should he choose to testify, and the State's rebuttal.

         In August 2000, the deceased body of a fourteen-year-old African-American girl named C.P. was discovered behind Edison High School in Miami, Florida. The medical examiner completed a rape kit on C.P., which contained DNA from an unknown subject. This DNA was entered into the Combined DNA Index System ("CODIS"), and no match was found.

         On July 17, 2009, a young Hispanic girl named O.R.F. was taken to Aswan Apartments in Opa Locka, Florida and raped. She was then taken to a second location and raped again by the same man. The man beat and strangled O.R.F. until she lost consciousness. O.R.F. awoke behind an apartment complex in the area of 78th Street and 5th Avenue. She immediately reported the incident, and a rape kit was completed. The rape kit collected from O.R.F. contained DNA from an unknown subject. It was entered into the CODIS, and again no match was found.

         On December 26, 2009, Martin beat and strangled G.B., the mother of his children. G.B. reported the attack and told officers the incident took place in Martin's car. Shortly thereafter, Martin was arrested. In Miami-Dade Circuit Court Case number F09-41439, Martin was convicted of felony domestic battery by strangulation and two counts of battery as a lesser included offense of attempted felony murder and sexual battery.

         While the detectives were investigating the attack on G.B., the detectives took DNA evidence from Martin's car. They then asked Martin for a DNA sample, and he voluntarily submitted to DNA testing. The DNA sample Martin provided matched the DNA found in Martin's car. The DNA found in Martin's car was then entered into the CODIS, and it matched the DNA from the rape kit processed in the unsolved homicide case of C.P., as well as the DNA collected from O.R.F.'s rape kit in July 2009.

         In November 2010, prior to Martin's arrest for the sexual battery of O.R.F. and the homicide of C.P., while Martin was in jail waiting for trial on his attack of G.B., he provided a voluntary, post-Miranda videotaped statement to police officers. The police officers questioned Martin regarding C.P.'s murder. Portions of the video depict police officers questioning Martin regarding the crimes against O.R.F. When questioned by police, Martin denied knowing C.P. or anything about C.P.'s murder and denied knowing O.R.F. or anything about O.R.F.'s sexual battery. The unredacted video showed Martin wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. The video also shows that a picture of C.P.'s deceased body was placed on the table in the police interview room.

         In preparation for trial and after consulting with defense counsel, the State edited the video to eliminate mention of any other victims and any references to Martin's current incarceration or Martin's past cases. The State further edited the video to black and white and changed the picture of C.P. to a blank piece of paper.

         Thereafter, at a March 27, 2018, pre-trial conference, defense counsel explained to the trial court that both the State and defense counsel agreed on this redacted version of the video that would be used during the State's case in chief and during cross-examination of Martin if he testified, except for one portion of the video. Defense counsel objected to language in the redacted statements referring to a "girl that survived." The court agreed with ...

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