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 Duval County. Russell
Thomas, Public Defender, and Kasey Lacey, Assistant Public
Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, and Julian E. Markham, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
asserts she is entitled to a new trial because the trial
court erred in accepting a jury verdict where it was not
clear during polling of the jury whether one of the jurors
agreed with the verdict or repudiated it. We disagree and
a trial, the jury returned a verdict finding Appellant guilty
of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing
or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, and
resisting an officer with violence. Appellant requested to
have the jury polled. The clerk asked each juror if this was
their "true and correct verdict." The last juror
responded with "Reluctantly." At a bench
conference, defense counsel requested to explore her answer.
However, the trial court denied the request, stating:
No, ma'am. I don't have any intention of doing it. I
don't know that there is any case law that would require
it. I suspect a lot of people reluctantly reach verdicts,
because they don't like what the situation is, or they
don't like the law, but, reluctantly, they may do it
because they know that they are duty bound to make certain
findings . . .
when defense counsel noted that the juror appeared visibly
disturbed, the trial court stated:
I get a lot of jurors that are visibly disturbed. I get
people who are crying and visibly they are upset, and visibly
of things that take place, so I'm really - you know, at
this point there is no reason to inquire any further, so I
don't intend to do it. As I said, I think a lot of jurors
probably may reluctantly - I don't think anybody joyously
jumps onto a verdict and says, This is the greatest thing
I've ever had to do. So, there you go.
trial court then dismissed the jury. Appellant, thereafter,
moved for a new trial, raising several issues. Pertinent to
this appeal, Appellant argued that the trial court erred in
denying her request to further question the last juror
regarding her response during the jury polling. She contended
that the response was ambiguous and did not reflect consent
with the verdict. The trial court denied the motion for new
trial and sentenced Appellant to concurrent terms of three
years in prison.
Court reviews for an abuse of discretion the trial
court's decision to accept a verdict. See Harper v.
State, 66 So.3d 1092, 1092 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011). Florida
Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.440 outlines the procedure for
rendering a jury verdict. Under this rule, the trial court
asks the foreperson if the jury panel reached an agreement on
the verdict. Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.440. If the foreperson
answers affirmatively, the verdict is delivered to the clerk
to read and record. Id. Where, as here, the jury is
polled, the verdict is not recorded immediately. The jury
polling is conducted pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal
Procedure 3.450, which provides:
On the motion of either the state or the defendant or on its
own motion, the court shall cause the jurors to be asked
severally if the verdict rendered is their verdict. If a
juror dissents, the court must direct that the jury be sent
back for further consideration. If there is no dissent the
verdict shall be entered of record and the jurors discharged.
However, no motion to poll the jury shall be entertained
after the jury is discharged or the verdict recorded.
if a juror indicates that the verdict was not theirs, the
trial court is required to send the jury back for further
deliberations. Otherwise, if no juror dissents, the verdict
is recorded, and the jury is discharged. See Simpson v.
State, 3 So.3d 1135, 1142 (Fla. 2009). If a juror's
answer is ambiguous, the trial court has discretion to seek
clarification. See Brutton v. State, 632 So.2d 1080,
1083 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994); Gonzalez v. State, 627
So.2d 63, 64 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993). The jury's verdict
cannot be rendered unless all the jurors concur in it. Fla.
R. Crim. P. 3.440; see also Perry v. State, 10 So.3d
695, 697 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009) ("Although neither the
Florida nor Federal Constitutions contain the ...