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Smith v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

November 6, 2019

BRIAN K. SMITH, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, St. Lucie County; Cynthia L. Cox, Judge; L.T. Case No. 312015CF001430B.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Jeffrey L. Anderson, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Richard Valuntas, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Forst, J.

         Appellant was convicted for multiple offenses associated with his robbery of a supermarket. He now raises three issues on appeal. We write to address two of Appellant's arguments; the third is affirmed without discussion. First, we conclude the trial court did not fail to conduct an adequate Richardson[1] hearing into the State's discovery violation to determine procedural prejudice to Appellant. Second, we conclude that when the trial court instructed the jury on the lesser-included offense of false imprisonment, it did not reversibly err in including restraint as an element of the offense. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment and sentence are affirmed.

         Background

         About ten minutes before the supermarket closed, Appellant stormed into the store, armed with a semiautomatic pistol and carrying a black backpack. He pointed the pistol at the five people inside the store and directed them to place their phones on the floor and go into the store's cash office, before closing the door behind them. Inside the cash office, he directed the store manager to open the safe and put its contents (about $3, 000) into the black backpack.

         Appellant then took the black backpack, directed the victims to stay inside the cash office for at least five minutes after he left, closed the door to the cash office and ran out of the store. As he ran through the parking lot, he encountered a store employee arriving for work. At gunpoint, he ordered the employee into the store. Shortly thereafter, the victims emerged from the cash office and called 911 to report the robbery. By this time, Appellant had driven off. In response to the 911 call, police were alerted about the robbery and pursued Appellant's truck through local and neighborhood roads, before apprehending him.

         The State ultimately charged and tried Appellant for robbery with a deadly weapon while wearing a mask; six counts of kidnapping while armed and masked; and fleeing and eluding. He was tried separately for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

         A. The State's alleged discovery violation

         At trial, the primary issue was identity-whether Appellant was the robber. In preparation for trial, the State prepared two map diagrams ("the maps") illustrating the flight route which Appellant took in his attempt to evade the police. The maps also depicted the locations of various items, such as the gun and the backpack filled with money, which had been found along the flight route. Although the maps were prepared before trial and the State intended to use the maps in presenting its case, the State did not disclose the maps to the defense during discovery.

         The defense claimed that the State's failure to disclose the maps constituted a discovery violation. Specifically, it asserted that the State had violated Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220(b)(1)(K), which requires the State to disclose, within 15 days after service of the notice of discovery, any tangible papers or objects intended for use at trial that are not obtained from or do not belong to the defendant, so that the defense may inspect, copy, test or photograph the material. In response, the State argued that the maps simply memorialized what was already in discovery, and therefore, the maps could not be prejudicial.

         The trial court held a Richardson hearing and ruled that the State's nondisclosure of the maps was inadvertent and trivial, and that the nondisclosure was not an attempt to hide anything from the defense because the maps were "just a culmination and a demonstrative aid of" evidence the defense had already received. Ultimately, the court allowed the State to use both maps in its case in chief, subject to the defense's ability to cross-examine the ...


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