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Florida First DCA rules that trial court committed error by allowing questioning as to how many of witness' previous felony convictions were crimes of dishonesty

On March 3, 2017, in Spradling v. State, No. 1D16-222, ruled that trial court committed error, albeit harmless error, by allowing questioning as to how many of a witness’ previous felony convictions were crimes of dishonesty. The First DCA, quoting Atis v. State, 32 So. 3d 81, 84 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009), observed that it is well settled that pursuant to section 90.610, Florida Statutes, “when a witness has been convicted of a felony, the other party may not inquire further into whether the felony involved dishonesty or false statement because doing so would have the impermissible and unintended effect of elevating certain felonies over others.” Citing Gavins v. State, 587 So. 2d 487 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991), the Court went on to note that if the witness admits to or testifies accurately to the fact and number of the felony convictions, the witness may not be questioned further regarding prior felony convictions, nor questioned as to the nature of the crimes. The witness may additionally be asked if he or she has ever been convicted of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty or false statement.