Cases About Severance of Defendants In Florida

Under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.152(b)(1)(A), a severance of defendants may be ordered when it is appropriate to promote a fair determination of the guilt or innocence of the defendants. A severance is not necessary when the evidence is "presented in such a manner that the jury can distinguish the evidence relating to each defendant's acts, conduct, and statements, and can then apply the law intelligently and without confusion to determine the individual defendant's guilt or innocence." Coleman v. State, 610 So. 2d 1283, 1285 (Fla. 1992) (quoting McCray v. State, 416 So. 2d 804, 806 (Fla. 1982)). In McCray v. State, 416 So. 2d 804, 806 (Fla. 1982), the Court affirmed a denial of severance because: (1) the defendant had a full opportunity to confront and cross-examine each of the witnesses against him; (2) none of the codefendants inculpated each other by confessing; (3) the evidence was not too complex for the jury to apply it to each individual defendant. See 416 So. 2d at 807. In McCray, the Court noted: The fact that the defendant might have a better chance of acquittal or a strategic advantage if tried separately does not establish the right to a severance. Nor is hostility among defendants, or an attempt by one defendant to escape punishment by throwing the blame on a codefendant, a sufficient reason, by itself, to require severance. Id. at 806.