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Cassaday v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

January 15, 2020

DONALD LEE CASSADAY, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; Cheryl Caracuzzo, Judge; L.T. Case No. 50-2016-CF-006694-AXXX-MB.

          Gregory Salnick of the Law Offices of Salnick & Fuchs, P.A., West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Jeanine Germanowicz, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Levine, C.J.

         Appellant was convicted of sexual battery on a helpless person, pursuant to section 794.011(4)(b), Florida Statutes. Appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by limiting the time for questioning during voir dire. The trial court initially gave each side 45 minutes, but allowed appellant to continue questioning prospective jurors for closer to 70 minutes, and then gave appellant an additional 5 minutes after appellant requested more time, for a total of 75 minutes. We find that under the circumstances of this case, the 75 minutes given to appellant was not an abuse of discretion. We also reaffirm this court's position that there is no mathematical formula that determines how much time the trial court should allocate for voir dire and reiterate that this determination is made on a case-by-case basis. Thus, we find that the time given for voir dire in this case was not an abuse of the trial court's discretion and affirm. We also find the other issue to be without merit and we affirm that issue without further discussion.

         The victim attended a funeral reception where the attendees, including the victim, consumed alcoholic drinks. After the funeral reception, a group from the reception, including the victim's son and appellant, went to the victim's home. The victim was put to bed due to her intoxicated state. Later the victim's son went to check on the victim and found appellant in the victim's room. The victim's son saw appellant with his pants half down, trying to have sex with the victim. The victim remained unconscious throughout. The victim's son told appellant to get out, and appellant left the house. The victim's son followed appellant and punched him when he caught up to him. Appellant then jumped a fence and ran away. The victim did not remember being assaulted.

         Law enforcement then interviewed appellant and asked him the following:

DETECTIVE VAUGHAN: You had a little too much to drink and had a lapse of judgment?
DONALD CASSADAY: That is what happened.
DETECTIVE VAUGHAN: That's the way it happened? You just said "that's what happened." So what happened?
DONALD CASSADAY: That is-that is what happened.
DETECTIVE VAUGHAN: What; that you had a lapse of ...

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