Wattiez v. State

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
PartiesELIZA WATTIEZ, Appellant, v. STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
Docket Number4D21-1146
Decision Date04 May 2022



No. 4D21-1146

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

May 4, 2022

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; Scott Suskauer, Judge; L.T. Case No. 502019CF009580AXXXMB.

Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Gary Lee Caldwell, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Rachael Kaiman, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

Per Curiam.

Appellant Eliza Wattiez appeals the trial court's conviction and sentence for driving while under the influence of alcohol or chemical substances. This was her third offense within ten years. She raises three issues on appeal, but we write only to address one: whether the trial court erred in denying appellant's request to speak at sentencing. On this issue, we find no error and affirm.

Appellant was found guilty of felony DUI following a jury trial. Both sides presented their arguments at the sentencing hearing, although appellant did not request the right to allocute at any time during her counsel's presentation. After both sides finished presenting their arguments, the trial judge began to orally pronounce his sentence. While the judge was speaking, appellant herself then asked for permission to address the court. The judge denied her request and continued with appellant's sentencing.


"We have de novo review of a trial court's compliance with the guarantees of due process." Hill v. State, 246 So.3d 392, 394 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018) (quoting Flegal v. Guardianship of Swistock, 169 So.3d 278, 281 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)).

At the outset, we note that appellant did not make a contemporaneous objection to the trial court's rejection of her request to allocute before pronouncing the sentence. In cases where a defendant raised no objection below, we limit our review to those errors that are "basic to the judicial decision under review and equivalent to a denial of due process." Jackson v. State, 983 So.2d 562, 575 (Fla. 2008) (quoting Hopkins v. State, 632 So.2d 1372, 1374 (Fla. 1994)). However, if a defendant, or their counsel, makes it clear that they intend to offer an unsworn statement to the court, no specific objection is required, and the issue is properly preserved for appellate review. Jean-Baptiste v. State, 155 So.3d 1237, 1240 (Fla. 4th...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT