Ivory v. State, 49615

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtHATCHETT; ENGLAND; OVERTON; ENGLAND; OVERTON
Citation351 So.2d 26
PartiesDonnie Lee IVORY, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 49615,49615
Decision Date14 July 1977

Page 26

351 So.2d 26
Donnie Lee IVORY, Petitioner,
v.
STATE of Florida, Respondent.
No. 49615.
Supreme Court of Florida.
July 14, 1977.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 20, 1977.

Page 27

Bennett H. Brummer, Public Defender, and Thomas G. Murray, Asst. Public Defender, for petitioner.

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., and Ira N. Loewy, Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

HATCHETT, Justice.

This cause is before us to determine whether a defendant in a criminal case is denied a fair trial and due process of law when the trial judge responds to a request from the jury, during the period of its deliberations, without affording the prosecutor, the defendant, or defendant's counsel an opportunity to be present and object or request alternative courses of action. In the exercise of our jurisdiction, * we answer this question in the affirmative and reverse the conviction.

Petitioner, Donnie Lee Ivory, was indicted for first degree murder. At trial, the charge was reduced to second degree murder and the jury returned a verdict finding petitioner guilty of manslaughter.

After retiring to consider its verdict, the jury sent out two notes requesting the following additional information: the instructions to the jury, the defendant's statement, the medical examiner's report, and "the brief definitions of third degree murder and the various types of manslaughter." Without notifying the defendant, his counsel, or counsel for the state, and outside of their presence, the court ordered the bailiff to deliver to the jury the documentary exhibits requested. It was later discovered that the medical examiner's report had never been admitted into evidence. After the jury had the report for approximately 45 minutes, the trial judge ordered it withdrawn, whereupon the defendant filed a motion for mistrial. The trial court denied defendant's motion but did instruct the jury to disregard the written medical examiner's report. In a per curiam decision, Judge Nathan dissenting, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction, Ivory v. State, 330 So.2d 853 (Fla. 3d DCA 1976).

Because we find that it was prejudicial error for the trial judge to respond to the jury's inquiries outside the presence of the prosecutor, the defendant, and his counsel, we need not determine whether the delivery to the jury room of the medical examiner's report was prejudicial error.

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.410, entitled "Jury Request to Review Evidence or for Additional Instructions" provides that if the jury, while deliberating, requests additional information or instructions, they shall be conducted to the courtroom by the bailiff. The rule then provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

Such instructions shall be given and such testimony read only after notice to the prosecuting attorney and to counsel for the defendant. (Emphasis added.)

The comment to this rule also states:

If an additional requested instruction is given, if testimony is read to the jury, or if material is given to the jury, notice must be supplied to counsel for both the prosecution and the defense as emphasized in Smith v. State, 1957, 95 So.2d 525. 34 Fla.Stat.Ann. 145.

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108 practice notes
  • Dixon v. State, 3810
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • January 18, 1980
    ...the defendant, and defendant's counsel is so fraught with potential prejudice that it cannot be considered harmless." Ivory v. State, 351 So.2d 26, 28 (Fla.1977). 13 While we adhere to our view that Ex parte communication between judge and jury does not mandate reversal in every case, 14 we......
  • State v. Patterson, s. 10752
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • April 22, 1993
    ...evanescent harm, real or fancied." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Peri v. State, supra, 426 So.2d at 1027, quoting Ivory v. State, 351 So.2d 26, 28 (Fla.1977). The better remedy, a rule requiring automatic reversal every time the judge is absent from voir dire in a criminal case, will ......
  • Peri v. State, 81-2107
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 18, 1983
    ...to show prejudice, or one requiring the State to show a lack of prejudice, is both unworkable and ill-advised. In Ivory v. State, 351 So.2d 26 (Fla.1977), our Supreme Court refused to adopt a rule calling for a showing of prejudice in an instance where the trial judge communicates with the ......
  • Lebron v. State, SC93955.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • August 30, 2001
    ...by contemporaneous objection at trial." See Thomas, 730 So.2d at 668 ("The per se reversible error rule announced in Ivory [v. State, 351 So.2d 26 (1977)] is prophylactic in nature and must be invoked by contemporaneous objection at trial."). Where, as here, no such contemporaneous objectio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
108 cases
  • Dixon v. State, 3810
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • January 18, 1980
    ...the defendant, and defendant's counsel is so fraught with potential prejudice that it cannot be considered harmless." Ivory v. State, 351 So.2d 26, 28 (Fla.1977). 13 While we adhere to our view that Ex parte communication between judge and jury does not mandate reversal in every case, 14 we......
  • State v. Patterson, s. 10752
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • April 22, 1993
    ...evanescent harm, real or fancied." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Peri v. State, supra, 426 So.2d at 1027, quoting Ivory v. State, 351 So.2d 26, 28 (Fla.1977). The better remedy, a rule requiring automatic reversal every time the judge is absent from voir dire in a criminal case, will ......
  • Peri v. State, 81-2107
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 18, 1983
    ...to show prejudice, or one requiring the State to show a lack of prejudice, is both unworkable and ill-advised. In Ivory v. State, 351 So.2d 26 (Fla.1977), our Supreme Court refused to adopt a rule calling for a showing of prejudice in an instance where the trial judge communicates with the ......
  • Lebron v. State, SC93955.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • August 30, 2001
    ...by contemporaneous objection at trial." See Thomas, 730 So.2d at 668 ("The per se reversible error rule announced in Ivory [v. State, 351 So.2d 26 (1977)] is prophylactic in nature and must be invoked by contemporaneous objection at trial."). Where, as here, no such contemporaneous objectio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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