Valentine v. State

Decision Date12 November 2020
Docket NumberNo. 4D19-1448,4D19-1448
Citation307 So.3d 726
Parties Marquis VALENTINE, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Erika Follmer, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant, and Seth Miller, Innocence Project of Florida, Inc., Tallahassee, and Alexis Agathocleous, Innocence Project, Inc., New York, New York, for Amici Curiae Innocence Project of Florida, Inc.

Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Luke R. Napodano, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

On Motion for Rehearing and Certification

May, J.

We deny the defendant's motion for rehearing and for certification but withdraw our previously issued opinion and substitute this in its place.

The defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for first-degree murder. He raises multiple issues involving his motion to suppress, his request for special jury instructions on eyewitness and expert witness testimony, and evidentiary rulings on the admission of a third-party identification, eyewitness statement, and a prior consistent statement, among others. While we agree that error occurred, we determine that error to have been harmless and affirm.

The Murder

The victim and his best friend went out for drinks. They then went to a convenience store to pick up beer and lottery tickets.

A manager and two employees were working at the store. The manager was behind the counter, one employee was stocking merchandise, and the other was outside. The manager saw the victim and his friend get in line to purchase lottery tickets. They appeared to be drunk or high and were loud and rude, cursing at each other and the manager.

The manager then saw the defendant and his girlfriend enter the store.1 The manager had seen them together in the store on other occasions. They went to the drink cooler where the defendant opened the cooler door. They then got in line behind the victim and his friend.

What happened next is in conflict. Suffice it to say that the victim and the defendant had a verbal exchange. One version has the victim initiating the conversation; in the other, the defendant initiated the exchange. Both versions, however, end with the defendant indicating he will see the victim outside. The defendant left the store, followed by the victim and his friend. The victim's friend was walking to the passenger side of the car when he saw the victim put his beer down and hands up. The defendant then shot the victim and ran off.

The manager heard a shot outside the store but did not see the shooting because he was helping another customer. He looked at the surveillance screen and saw the defendant running away.

Deputies responded to the scene. One of them saw the unresponsive victim sitting in the driver's seat while a store employee and the victim's friend tried to help him. The victim's friend was hysterical, yelling "please don't let him die. I can't believe they shot him. They know who—they know him." Two deputies removed the victim from the vehicle to render CPR.

When the paramedics arrived, the first deputy spoke with the manager and victim's friend. The manager told him the defendant was wearing a dark t-shirt, light pants, gold teeth, a gold necklace, and a dark hat. The victim's friend described the defendant as a black male wearing a black-colored shirt, light colored shorts, a black hat, and black shoes. A BOLO issued.

Detective R. arrived. He obtained a copy of the surveillance video. After viewing it, he recognized the defendant's girlfriend from a prior investigation. She lived a few houses away.

After some additional research, law enforcement developed a suspect. Detective P. created a photo lineup. Detective R. administered the photo lineup to the manager inside his vehicle while parked at the store. The manager identified the defendant as the shooter and was 100 percent sure.

Detective R. later interviewed the defendant's childhood friend that he previously dated; she identified the defendant from a still photograph taken from the surveillance video. She also identified him in person and in the photograph at trial.

The crime scene investigator lifted fingerprints off the cooler inside the store where the surveillance video showed he touched the cooler door. The latent print examiner later testified the prints from the cooler matched the defendant's known standards.

The Motion to Suppress

Prior to trial, the defendant moved to suppress the manager's eyewitness identification. He argued the identification should be suppressed because: 1) law enforcement employed an unnecessarily suggestive procedure that gave rise to a substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification; 2) the identification's probative value was outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice; and 3) the identification violated his due process rights.

The detectives testified at the hearing. Detective P. testified that both he and Detective R. watched the surveillance video from which Detective R. recognized the defendant's girlfriend. Detective P. researched her associates, residences, and case history at the sheriff's office. Detective P. discovered the defendant was one of the girlfriend's known associates. The defendant's photograph was then generated as a possible suspect.

Detective P. testified the photographic lineup was created from a program that produces a list of suspects based on specific characteristics, including height, weight, skin color, hair, tattoos, and beards. The photographic lineup had a black bar above two of the photographs, the defendant's and photograph number 6.

On cross-examination, Detective P. explained the black line above the defendant's photograph:

I know it's weird, but it – so when I put together that photo lineup, okay, and I know that my suspect is in a specific position, in order for me to make a different photo lineup, I just hit rearrange, or random placement. Those black lines appear randomly. So it's not like I had to crop that photo out. That's the photo that was in there and when I hit random the line just moves around.

Although he knew where the defendant was positioned in the photograph lineup, he did not tell Detective R.

Detective R. testified he did not see the photographic lineup and could not remember seeing the defendant's photograph prior to administering the lineup. He did nothing to suggest who to pick in the lineup.

Within fifteen seconds, the manager identified the defendant as "the person he saw do the shooting." He indicated he was 100 percent certain and explained he had seen the defendant in his store many times but did not know his name. Detective R. responded, "very good." After Detective R. finished the lineup, Detective P. showed the manager the defendant's picture.

The trial court denied the motion to suppress.

The Trial

The case proceeded to trial. During the trial, the manager identified the defendant and was cross-examined about whether he originally told law enforcement the defendant did not have any facial tattoos and whether he had watched television or media about the crime. The defendant's childhood friend identified the defendant in the courtroom and in the photo from the surveillance video over defense objection. The detectives testified regarding their investigation, including the photographic lineup and the victim's friend's comment at the scene that "they know him," which was admitted over defense objection. The victim's friend also testified. The latent print examiner testified the defendant's prints were found on the cooler.

The defendant requested special jury instructions on eyewitness and expert witness testimony. The trial court denied those requests.

The jury convicted the defendant of first-degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to life in prison without parole. The defendant moved for a new trial or arrest of judgment, which the court denied. He now appeals his conviction and sentence.

Issue One: The Motion to Suppress

The defendant argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the manager's eyewitness identification because it: 1) was unnecessarily suggestive; 2) led to a substantial likelihood of misidentification; 3) violated Florida's Constitution; and 4) was more prejudicial than probative. The defendant suggests we should adopt a new test for eyewitness identification.

The State responds that we are restricted to the existing eyewitness identification test, and this identification was neither unnecessarily suggestive nor led to a substantial likelihood of misidentification. We find no error in the trial court's ruling on the motion to suppress.

We review an order on a motion to suppress an out-of-court identification for an abuse of discretion. Walker v. State , 776 So. 2d 943, 945 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000).

We employ the two-pronged test developed by the U.S. Supreme Court to determine if an out-of-court identification violates due process. Manson v. Brathwaite , 432 U.S. 98, 114, 97 S.Ct. 2243, 53 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977). First, we must decide if "the police employ[ed] an unnecessarily suggestive procedure in obtaining an out-of-court identification[.]" Walton v. State , 208 So. 3d 60, 65 (Fla. 2016). Second, we must consider "the totality of the circumstances," to determine whether "the suggestive procedure g[a]ve rise to a substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification." Id.

The defendant first argues we should modify the Manson test in line with other states to account for the array of factors outside the criminal justice system's control that studies have shown contribute to misidentifications. He suggests the current test abridges Florida's constitutional protections.

Because our supreme court expressly adopted Manson in Grant v. State , 390 So. 2d 341 (Fla. 1980), we are bound to apply its test.2 See Putnam Cty. Sch. Bd. v. Debose , 667 So. 2d 447, 449 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996). Under Manson , we first review whether the identification was unnecessarily suggestive.


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    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books The Florida Criminal Cases Notebook. Volume 1-2 Volume 1
    • April 30, 2021
    ...before the incident, and his description of the defendant was consistent with other eyewitness’ descriptions. Valentine v. State, 307 So. 3d 726 (Fla. 4th DCA 2020) PRETRIAL MOTIONS, DEFENSES 3.9.7 Spoliation of evidence Topics covered: Defenses other than those listed in Sections 3.9.2 - 3......

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