Joiner v. State

Decision Date13 May 1993
Docket NumberNo. 79567,79567
Citation618 So.2d 174
Parties18 Fla. L. Week. S280 Eddie JOINER, etc., Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and Kenneth Witts and Sophia B. Ehringer, Asst. Public Defenders, Daytona Beach, for petitioner.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., and David G. Mersch and Nancy Ryan, Asst. Attys. Gen., Daytona Beach, for respondent.

SHAW, Judge.

We review Joiner v. State, 593 So.2d 554 (Fla. 5th DCA1992), based on conflict with Kibler v. State, 546 So.2d 710 (Fla.1989), and Jefferson v. State, 595 So.2d 38 (Fla.1992). 1 We have jurisdiction. Art. V, Sec. 3(b)(3), Fla. Const.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the convictions of Eddie Joiner (Joiner) for possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest without violence. Joiner contends that State v. Neil, 457 So.2d 481 (Fla.1984), clarified, State v. Castillo, 486 So.2d 565 (Fla.1986), was violated when the State gave an inadequate reason for a peremptory challenge of an African-American juror. The district court held that Joiner failed to preserve his objection to the composition of the jury.

During jury selection the State peremptorily challenged Mrs. Gamble, an African-American. After the State had excused her, defense counsel asked the court to inquire as to the reasons and the court did so. The State replied: "I would like to constitute the jury with some people down the line I prefer more, and including another juror." Joiner, 593 So.2d at 555-56. The judge erroneously ruled that the reason given for the strike satisfied the Neil inquiry in that it was racially neutral. There is no doubt that the State gave an inadequate reason for exercising a peremptory challenge against Mrs. Gamble. We held in Kibler that the reasons "I preferred other jurors" and "I liked [other jurors] better" were insufficient to rebut the defendant's assertion that the exercise of a peremptory challenge was racially motivated. Joiner's counsel correctly registered disagreement with the trial court's ruling, voir dire continued, the jury was accepted by both parties, and Joiner was found guilty. In concluding that Joiner had failed to preserve the Neil issue, the district court reasoned:

We believe that a party must do more than request a Neil inquiry and voice disagreement with an opponent's explanation. If a party is dissatisfied with a jury panel after hearing an explanation elicited through a Neil inquiry, some remedy should be requested of the trial court. For example, the defense in the instant case should have moved to strike the jury panel at some time during the jury selection process, but before the jury was sworn, at the latest. The defense did not do this; on the contrary, at the end of the jury selection, the defense stated that the jury was acceptable. Further, no mention of the jury selection was made in the motions for acquittal during the trial, and it was only after receiving the adverse verdict and judgment that the issue was again raised in a motion for acquittal or new trial.

Joiner, 593 So.2d at 556 (citation omitted).

We held in Jefferson that striking the entire jury panel is not the only remedy for a Neil violation. There we held that seating the improperly challenged juror is a proper remedy for a Neil violation. We agree with Joiner that a new panel may exacerbate rather than alleviate the constitutional violation Neil is designed to remedy. We therefore disapprove the lower court's suggestion that the preferred procedure for reserving the issue is to move to strike the jury panel. We also agree with Joiner that a motion for judgment of acquittal is designed to test the sufficiency of the evidence against a defendant and is therefore an inappropriate vehicle for a Neil objection. Anderson v. State, 504 So.2d 1270 (Fla. 1st DCA1986).

We do not agree with Joiner, however, that he preserved the Neil issue for review. He affirmatively accepted the jury immediately prior to its being sworn without reservation of his earlier-made objection. We agree with the district court that counsel's action in accepting the jury led to a reasonable assumption that he had abandoned, for whatever reason, his earlier objection. It is reasonable to conclude that events occurring subsequent to his objection caused him to be satisfied with the jury about to be sworn. We therefore approve the district court to the extent that the court held that Joiner waived his Neil objection when he accepted the jury. 2 Had Joiner renewed his objection or accepted the jury subject to his earlier Neil objection, we would rule otherwise. Such action would have apprised the trial judge that Joiner still believed reversible error had occurred. At that point the trial judge could have exercised discretion to either recall the challenged juror for service on the panel, strike the entire panel and begin anew, or stand by the earlier ruling.

We take this opportunity to clarify a misapprehension of the part of the State. The State argues that because the juror who replaced Mrs. Gamble was also an African-American, any Neil violation was cured. This argument...

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  • Morrison v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 21 March 2002
    ...Morrison accepted the jury without renewing his challenge. See Hudson v. State, 708 So.2d 256, 262 (Fla. 1998) (citing Joiner v. State, 618 So.2d 174 (Fla.1993)). 4. Moreover, on several occasions during voir dire in the instant case, the prosecutor emphasized it would be the trial judge wh......
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    ...the jury pursuant to a reservation of this claim." Davis v. Sec'y for the Dep't of Corr., 341 F.3d at 1315 (citing Joiner v. State, 618 So.2d 174, 176 (Fla.1993); see also Melbourne v. State, 679 So.2d 759, 765 ...
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3 books & journal articles
  • Preserving error in jury trials: rules to remember.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 72 No. 9, October 1998
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    ...576 So. 2d 691, 693 (Fla. 1990); Sebring Associates, Ltd. v. Aumann, 673 So. 2d 875 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1996). (8) See Joiner v. State, 618 So. 2d 174,176 (Fla. 1993); Mitchell v. State, 620 So. 2d 1008, 1009 (Fla. 1993). Although Joiner and Mitchell involved Neil issues, this requirement appli......
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    ...Moore v. State, 525 So. 2d 870 (Fla. 1988) (failure to exclude juror for cause constitutes reversible error). (12) Joiner v. State, 618 So. 2d 174 (Fla. 1993); Scott v. State, 618 So. 2d 174 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 2006); Gonzalez v. Martinez, 897 So. 2d 525 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. (13) Steinhorst v. State......

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