Proving That Criminal Defendant Agreed to His Lawyers Strategy During Trial

In Nixon v. Singletary, 758 So. 2d 618 (Fla. 2000), the court found that counsel's comments at trial were the functional equivalent of a guilty plea. Since counsel's comments operated as a guilty plea, in order to affirm the trial court's ruling, the record must contain substantial evidence which would enable this Court to determine that Nixon did more than silently submit to counsel's strategy. There is no evidence that shows that Nixon affirmatively, explicitly agreed with counsel's strategy. The only evidence presented at the evidentiary hearing was Corin's testimony, which indicated that Nixon neither agreed nor disagreed with counsel's trial strategy. Thus, there is no competent, substantial evidence which establishes that Nixon affirmatively and explicitly agreed to counsel's strategy. Without a client's affirmative and explicit consent to a strategy of admitting guilt to the crime charged or a lesser included offense, counsel's duty is to "hold the State to its burden of proof by clearly articulating to the jury or fact-finder that the State must establish each element of the crime charged and that a conviction can only be based upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Nixon, 758 So. 2d at 625.