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Keller v. State - 586 So. 2d 1258 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1991)

Rule:

A prior consistent statement is only admissible under Fla. Stat. ch. 90.801(2)(b) when the declarant has testified, the declarant has been subjected to cross-examination and the prior consistent statement is used to rebut an express or implied charge of fabrication or improper influence. 

Facts:

The victim was employed at defendant Ronnie Keller's restaurant. The victim testified that she went to a stable owned by Keller for the purpose of grooming Keller's horses and while there, Keller attacked her. At trial in Florida state court, six witnesses testified to statements made to them by the victim regarding the alleged attack. Deputy Dexter Rogers and Deputy Audrey Edens each testified and repeated statements made by the victim during their investigations. Nurse Diane Black testified to statements made by the victim during a sexual assault examination, although the statements were unrelated to any medical diagnosis or treatment. Each of these witnesses was permitted to testify to the statements over objection. Keller was convicted on two counts of sexual battery upon a person 12 years or older by slight force and one count of false imprisonment. Keller appealed, arguing, among other things, that the State committed reversible error when it introduced both irrelevant and highly prejudicial testimony and inadmissible hearsay. Keller also argued that his motion for judgment of acquittal on the false imprisonment charge was erroneously denied. 

Issue:

Did the trial court err in admitting the testimony given by Nurse Black?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The appellate court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the matter for a new trial with instructions to the trial court to enter an order granting the judgment of acquittal on the charge of false imprisonment. The court held that the testimony given by Nurse Black was irrelevant to proving the charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment which were at issue in the trial. Moreover, the highly prejudicial aspect of the testimony was self-evident. The testimony should have been excluded.

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