County Traffic Court: TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS -  It was error for the trial court to, without objection, interrupt the defendant during his questioning of a police officer, engage in a conversation with the defendant, and not let the defendant complete his line of questioning. Judgment and sentence reversed. J. Ayoub v. State, No. CRC 06-18 APANO, (Fla. 6th Cir. App.Ct. December 4, 2006).

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

JOSEPH AYOUB

 

            Appellant,

Appeal No. CRC 06-18 APANO

UCN522006AP000018XXXXCR

v.

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

            Appellee.

______________________________/

 

Opinion filed ____________________.

 

Appeal from a judgment and sentence

entered by the Pinellas County Court

Hearing Officer Herbert Langford

 

Joseph Ayoub, Pro Se

 

Robert Gualtieri, Esq.

Attorney for appellee

ORDER AND OPINION

            (J. Demers)

 

            THIS MATTER is before the Court on the appellant, Joseph Ayoub’s, appeal from a judgment and sentence entered against him following his conviction for running a stop sign. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court reverses the judgment and sentence.

            A review of the record supports the appellant’s contention that the trial court deprived him of his opportunity to complete his cross-examination of the police officer who witnessed the alleged infraction. The hearing officer concluded that the defendant had cross-examined the police officer, begun his closing, and then wanted to ask further questions of the police officer. The record, however, shows that the hearing officer, without there being any objection, interrupted the defendant during his questioning of the police officer and engaged in a conversation with him. Subsequently, the hearing officer would not let the defendant renew the interrupted  line of questioning. This was error. It is fundamental that defendants be allowed to complete their cross-examination. See Griffith v. State, 922 So.2d 436 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006). Therefore, the judgment and sentence must be reversed, and the defendant given an opportunity to have a new trial.

            IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence are reversed, and this matter is remanded to the trial court for a new trial.

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of November, 2006.

                                                                                                _______________________

                                                                                                            David A. Demers

                                                                                                            Circuit Judge

 

 

 

                                                                                                _______________________

                                                                                                            Robert J. Morris, Jr.

                                                                                                            Circuit Judge

 

 

 

                                                                                                _______________________

                                                                                                            Irene H. Sullivan

                                                                                                            Circuit Judge

 

cc:        Robert Gualtieri, Esq.

 

            Joseph Ayoub

 

            Hearing Officer Herbert Langford