Can a Party Impeach Its Own Witness in Florida

In Morton v. State, 689 So. 2d 259 (Fla. 1997), the Court discussed the ability of a party to impeach its own witness: Obviously, no single rule can be delineated to cover all of the circumstances under which parties will seek to impeach their own witnesses. Generally, however, if a party knowingly calls a witness for the primary purpose of introducing a prior statement which otherwise would be inadmissible, impeachment should ordinarily be excluded. On the other hand, a party may always impeach its witness if the witness gives affirmatively harmful testimony. In a case where a witness gives both favorable and unfavorable testimony, the party calling the witness should usually be permitted to impeach the witness with a prior inconsistent statement. Of course, the statement should be truly inconsistent, and caution should be exercised in permitting impeachment of a witness who has given favorable testimony but simply fails to recall every detail unless the witness appears to be fabricating. In addressing these issues, trial judges must have broad discretion in determining whether the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or confusion. (Id. at 264.)