Does Power of Court to Reserve Ruling on Motion for Mistrial After Jury Returns Vercict Conserve Judicial Resources ?
In Ed Ricke & Sons, Inc. v. Green, 468 So. 2d 908, 910 (Fla. 1985), the court held that when a party moves for a mistrial after his objection is sustained, the party may couple that motion with a request that the trial court defer ruling on it until after the jury returns its verdict. Id. at 911.
Key to our decision was our interest in judicial economy.
Specifically, the court stated:
The trial court judge may, in his or her sound discretion, determine whether to rule on a motion for a mistrial immediately or reserve ruling until after the jury deliberates.
However, this discretion must be exercised in accordance with precepts of judicial economy.
When, as here, the prejudicial comments occur during closing argument, it is quite reasonable for a trial judge to reserve ruling until after the jury deliberates in the hope that the jurors can rise above the alleged prejudice and cure the error.
If the verdict cures the error, the court will save the expenditure of additional time, money and delay associated with a new trial.
On the other hand, if the judge, after the verdict, incorrectly grants the motion for mistrial and orders a new trial, that order is reviewable on appeal.
The appellate court could then reverse the order granting the new trial and order the trial court to enter a judgment on the jury verdict.
The power of a trial court judge to reserve ruling on a motion for a mistrial will not only conserve judicial resources but may also operate to prohibit a wrongdoer from profiting from his intentional misconduct. Id. at 910.