Tanshanny T. Wright, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Leon County. James C.
Candice Kaye Brower, Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional
Counsel, and Melissa Joy Ford, Assistant Regional Conflict
Counsel, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, and Amanda D. Stokes, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Tanshanny T. Wright, appeals his convictions for burglary of
a structure with person assaulted (Count 1), criminal
mischief (Count 2), and aggravated assault with a deadly
weapon (Count 3). He argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by instructing the jury to disregard his
testimony. We disagree and affirm.
Appellant's jury trial, the victim testified that he was
working at Zaxby's as part of his manager training when
he noticed Appellant leaning over the registers and yelling
at Ms. Godwin, one of the employees. Appellant then walked
through the employee door that blocked the public's entry
and walked down the cashier aisle. The victim asked Appellant
to leave because he was not supposed to be behind the
counter. Appellant initially ignored the victim, but then
started threatening him, saying, "I've killed people
before like you." Appellant pulled out a pocketknife and
threw it at the victim while still yelling and looking
directly at him. The victim was scared and ducked to avoid
being hit with the knife, which landed a couple of feet from
him. Appellant then went to the drive-through window, where
he continued to try to attack the victim and smashed the
window. The incident was captured by the restaurant's
surveillance cameras, without sound, and the video recording
of it was admitted into evidence.
testified on direct examination that he went to Zaxby's
to get some keys from Godwin, his child's mother. When he
asked Godwin for the keys at the register, she told him to go
behind the counter to get them from her. Appellant entered
the back area in order to get the keys, but once there, he
had an altercation with the victim. Appellant pulled a
pocketknife because he was in a rush to see his child and was
very frustrated, and the victim "kind of like put his
hands on" him and "there was another employee
coming behind [him]." Appellant had no intention of
hurting anyone with the knife and threw it "to the
wall," not at anybody, "just out of
frustration" because he was "really agitated trying
to get the keys." Upon leaving the restaurant, Appellant
went to the drive-through where Godwin worked to get the
keys, but the victim slammed the window in his face, and he,
in turn, hit the glass "out of frustration."
Appellant had two prior felony convictions.
cross-examination, Appellant testified that Godwin told him
to go behind the counter to get the keys and tried to give
them to him, but the victim did not know that and intervened.
Appellant denied threatening the victim and insisted that he
threw the knife at the wall. The trial court instructed
Appellant four times to stop interrupting and posing
questions to the prosecutor, but he continued to do so, at
which point the court told him to be quiet. In turn,
Appellant repeatedly stated that it was his life on the line,
ignoring the court's continued instruction that he be
quiet. Appellant stated that "[t]his isn't a
burglary," and when the court warned him that he would
be removed from the stand, he again commented that it was his
life on the line. At that point, the court told Appellant to
be quiet, instructed the jury to disregard his comments, and
explained that every witness has to be subject to
cross-examination and the State was entitled to answers to
its questions. The court also warned Appellant that if he
could not properly answer questions, it would instruct the
jury to disregard his testimony. Appellant indicated that he
would answer the questions, but before long, he started to
make comments when there were not any questions pending,
including that "y'all are playing with my life. My
life is no joke," "[t]hat's not burglary,"
and "I didn't throw that knife at nobody," over
the court's repeated instruction that he stop it.
Appellant even stated that he was "done talking"
and wished to "sit back down."
asking the jury to step out of the courtroom, the trial court
explained to Appellant that he was subject to reasonable
questions from the State and had to answer those questions.
The court twice more warned Appellant that it was going to
tell the jury to disregard his testimony in its entirety if
he was not going to answer the State's questions, and he
responded that he understood and would answer the questions.
Defense counsel did not want to be heard and declined an
opportunity to talk with Appellant. When the jury returned,
cross-examination resumed as follows:
[STATE]: Now __
[APPELLANT]: I told him I'm coming back there to get __
[COURT]: Mr. Wright, there is not a question. She'll ask
you a question. Ms. Surace [prosecutor], play what it is you
want to play and then go back to ...