Coronas, Crawford, and Discovery Depositions

Oral argument before the Florida Supreme Court...

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Corona v. State, 36 Fla. L. Weekly S247 (Fla. Jun 9, 2011): Review Granted, Reversed for new trial – State used out-of-court statements (lots) to convict this guy of a very serious crime.  After being PCA’d by the 5th DCA on direct appeal and pending a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court the decision in Crawford v. Washington, 541 US 36 (2004) was issued.  USSCt remanded Corona back to 5th DCA to consider Crawford. During this time the Florida Supreme Court decided State v. Lopez, 974 So.2d 340 (Fla. 2008) and Blanton v. State, 978 So.2d 149 (Fla. 2008).  The Fifth (god bless’em) agreed that Crawford applied but held the issue was not preserved (among several other reasons why they still affirmed including the idea that a discovery deposition is a prior opportunity to cross-examine a witness) upon which Corona asked the Florida Supreme Court for discretionary review.

Lopez and Blanton both stand for the proposition that discovery depositions ARE NOT opportunities for cross-examinations.  The Florida Supreme Court points out that Corona did preserve the issue even though it was not directly for a violation of the confrontation clause (the colloquy between the court and the attorney regarding the objection is noted in the opinion) and finds that Corona was deprived of his right to confront the witnesses against him, following Lopez and Blanton.  Life sentenced reversed for new trial.

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