Trial Court improperly excluded defense witness

Mosley v. State, 2D13-4395 (January 6, 2016)

The Second District reversed battery convictions for a new trial because the trial court improperly excluded a defense witness and photographs of the defendant’s injuries in a self-defense case.  The defendant learned of the witness’ name after trial had begun, and as such did not disclose the name to the state in a timely fashion.  The state objected to the witness’ testimony because of the late disclosure.  The trial court conducted a limited Richardson Hearing and excluded the witness.  The Second District held that the trial court erred by failing to conduct a full Richardson inquiry because it did not consider whether the discovery violation was trivial or substantial, and did not discuss the actual prejudice to the State.  Ultimately, exclusion of the witness was too severe a sanction, and resulted in reversible error.

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