Trial Judge Needs Only Answer Jury Questions of Law - Not of Fact

In Coleman v. State, 610 So. 2d 1283, 1286 (Fla. 1992), the trial judge refused to answer the jury's question regarding whether the vaginal swabs taken from the sexual battery victims matched the defendant's DNA. See: 610 So. 2d at 1286. The jury's question in Coleman was one of fact. The Court, recognizing that a trial court need only answer questions of law, not of fact, concluded that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion when he advised the jurors that they would have to rely on their collective recollection of the evidence. See: id. In addition, in Kelley v. State, 486 So. 2d 578, 583 (Fla. 1986) the jury asked the trial court whether "John J. Sweet received immunity in Florida for first degree murder and perjury before he gave information on the Maxcy trial, and if he had anything to gain by his testimony." Kelley, 486 So. 2d at 583. This Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to answer the question because the jury question involved matters of fact, not questions of law. See: id.