Petition for Certiorari Review of Order from the Circuit
Court for Orange County, Tom Young, Judge.
P. Kelly, Assistant State Attorney, of Office of the State
Attorney, Orlando, for Petitioner.
Varet, Assistant Regional Counsel, of Office of Criminal
Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, Casselberry, for
State seeks certiorari review of the trial courts order
granting the defendants motion to compel the disclosure of
certain witnesses, the identities of whom the State wishes to
keep confidential. The State argues that the order is a
departure from the essential requirements of the law and
results in irreparable harm for which there is no remedy on
appeal. We agree and quash, in part, the order under review.
Henry, the defendant, is subject to ongoing prosecution for
attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, shooting into
an occupied vehicle, and possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon. Henry moved to compel disclosure of the
identities of five individuals who were listed as potential
witnesses. In the motion, Henry argued that the failure to
disclose the witnesses identities prejudiced him because his
attorney could not determine potential conflicts. Further,
Henry asserted in a conclusory fashion that the lack of
disclosure affected his right to a speedy trial.
response to the motion, the State asserted the privilege of
nondisclosure and sought to restrict the disclosure of four
of the individuals identities. The State indicated that it
would not call these individuals as witnesses and that each
individual had expressed concern for his or her own safety
and agreed to speak with law enforcement only in confidence.
Following a hearing, the trial court entered a lengthy order
that required the State to disclose the names of two of the
individuals to defense counsel and to schedule their
depositions at defense counsels request. The order further
provided that if the individuals failed to appear for
depositions, their full contact information including
address, birthdate, and employer would be provided to Henry.
The State timely filed a petition for certiorari review.
standard of review on a petition for writ of certiorari is
whether the trial courts order constitutes a departure
from the essential requirements of law that causes material
injury throughout the lawsuit, leaving no other adequate
remedy." State Farm Fla. Ins. Co. v.
Marascuillo, 161 So.3d 493, 496 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)
(citing Allstate Ins. Co. v. Boecher, 733 So.2d 993,
999 (Fla. 1999)).
Pursuant to its privilege of nondisclosure, the State may
withhold the identity of a confidential informant.
See Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.220(g)(2). "The purpose
of the privilege is the furtherance and protection of the
public interest in effective law enforcement."
Roviaro v. United States, 353 U.S. 53, 59, 77 S.Ct.
623, 1 L.Ed.2d 639 (1957). "The privilege recognizes the
obligation of citizens to communicate their knowledge of the
commission of crimes to law-enforcement officials and, by
preserving their anonymity, encourages them to perform that
However, this privilege is not absolute and must yield if the
failure to disclose the witnesss identity will infringe upon
the defendants constitutional rights. Fla. R. Crim. P.
3.220(g)(2). Thus, the privilege will not be maintained when
the witnesss identity is relevant and helpful to the defense
of the accused or where the identity is essential to a fair
determination of the cause at ...