Comment on Defendant’s Silence

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Coleman v. State, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D618 (Fla. 1st DCA Mar 23, 2011): Defense Appeal, Reversed – Any comment that is “fairly susceptible” of being interpreted as a comment on silence will be treated as such.  Here, detective testified to defendant’s abrupt end of interview as he was putting the “pieces together.”  Defense objected.  Harmless error test places burden on state to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the error complained of did not contribute to the verdict.  Burden not met, reversed for new trial.

Eric J Dirga, PA

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