The Court Receded from a Per Se Reversible Error Ruling Based Upon Presumed Harm from the Possibility of Uncertainty
In State v. Schopp, 653 So. 2d 1016 (Fla. 1995), this Court receded from a similar per se reversible error ruling based upon presumed harm from the possibility of uncertainty.
Specifically, in Schopp, this Court receded from its holding in Smith v. State, 500 So. 2d 125 (Fla. 1986), wherein this Court held that the failure to conduct a Richardson hearing (Richardson v. State) was per se reversible error, assuming that "a reviewing court is in no position to determine from a cold record whether a discovery violation is harmless." Schopp, 653 So. 2d at 1019 (describing Smith, 500 So. 2d 125).
The Smith court had reasoned that "an appellate determination as to whether a Richardson violation is harmless is impossible in light of the fact that 'the purpose of a Richardson inquiry is to ferret out procedural, rather than substantive, prejudice.' " Id. (quoting Smith, 500 So. 2d at 126).
But the Schopp Court determined that there are exceptions to that stringent rule.
In Schopp, the State sought to admit the testimony of a police officer who was not included on the State's original witness list but was added to an amended witness list shortly before trial. Id.
The trial court overruled defense counsel's objection and concluded that a Richardson hearing was not required, in part because of Schopp's request for a speedy trial. Id.