Does An Out-Of-Court Statement Relating Accusatory Information Outweigh the Probative Value of Such Evidence ?
In Conley v. State, 620 So. 2d 180 (Fla. 1993), the defendant was charged with and convicted of armed burglary, three counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, and armed robbery with a firearm. See 620 So. 2d at 182.
Testimony concerning a police dispatch report which originated when an unidentified person called the police was admitted into evidence. See id.
At trial, a police officer testified that he "received the call in reference to a man chasing a female down the street . . . the man supposedly had some type of gun or rifle." See id.
During closing argument, the prosecutor argued that this testimony, combined with the alleged victim's testimony, proved that the defendant carried a rifle during the criminal episode. See id.
On review, the Court stated:
Even if we were to conclude that the testimony was not used to prove the truth of the matter asserted, the contents of the statement were not relevant to establish a logical sequence of events, nor was the reason why officers arrived at the scene a material issue in the case.
As the Court said in Baird, the inherently prejudicial effect of admitting into evidence an out-of-court statement relating accusatory information to establish the logical sequence of events outweighs the probative value of such evidence.
Such practice must be avoided. Baird, 572 So. 2d at 908; see 90.403, Fla. Stat. (1989). Conley, 620 So. 2d at 183.
Under this analysis, court found the police officer's improper testimony to be harmful error after recognizing the lack of corroboration as to whether the defendant used a firearm, in combination with evidence contradicting the alleged victim's testimony. See id.