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Date: 03-15-2023

Case Style:

State of Florida v. Sidney Holmes

Case Number:


Court: Circuit Court, Broward County, Florida

Plaintiff's Attorney: Broward County Florida District Attorney's Office

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Fort Lauderdale, Florida criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with armed robbery.

Broward County Courthouse - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Broward County Courthouse - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Defendant was charged with being one of three men involved in an armed robbery on Father's Day. While the victim and his girlfriend were at a gas station, they were approached by two men, one of whom was armed. A third man then drove up and ordered the others to get the victim's car because the victim had no money. A check of owners of automobiles matching the description provided by the victim led to appellant. At a photo lineup, live lineup and at trial, the victim positively identified appellant as the third participant in the robbery.

After being arrested and being advised of his Miranda rights, Defendant claimed his car had been stolen and his mother had been driving him around while he attempted to recover his vehicle. At trial, over defense objection, the prosecutor elicited testimony that Defendant failed to respond to the detectives' telling him that phone conversations to his mother and employer refuted this story, and Defendant omitted mentioning an alibi for the time of the robbery.

Defendant presented testimony that he was at home celebrating with friends and relatives on Father's Day. Over defense objection, the state cross-examined his mother about why she did not mention appellant's alibi defense at a bond hearing at which she testified as a witness.

At one point in Detective Freshwater's testimony, the detective was asked: "Did the defendant ever tell you he couldn't have committed the robbery because he was at home at his mother's and father's at a Father's Day celebration?" The trial court overruled appellant's objection to this line of questioning. We agree.

The forgoing is from the decision of the District Court of Appeals, Fourth District, opinion affirming Holmes' convicting in 1990. 89-1437

The officer's testimony established that after receiving Miranda warnings, rather than remaining silent, Holmes freely made exculpatory statements. At no point thereafter did he unequivocally invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. The officer's testimony was a recounting of what transpired during the questioning rather than a comment on appellant's right to remain silent. See Minnis v. State, 505 So.2d 17 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987). Cf. Crawford v. State, 494 So.2d 311 (Fla. 4th DCA 1986). We distinguish Starr v. State, 518 So.2d 1389 (Fla. 4th DCA 1988), wherein Starr was never afforded the opportunity to invoke his right to remain silent as he was never given his Miranda warnings.

Outcome: After the jury returned a guilty verdict, the trial court sentenced appellant to 400 years' imprisonment and denied his motion for a new trial.

Appellant raises two issues on appeal wherein he contends the trial court erred in (1) admitting testimony from the detectives that were impermissible comments upon the exercise of his right to remain silent and (2) permitting cross-examination of his mother about her failure to mention appellant's alibi defense at a bond hearing. We find no error and affirm the conviction and sentence.

In 2020, Holmes contacted the State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) claiming he was “factually innocent” of the armed robbery of two people outside a convenience store.

Defendant was exonerated on March 14, 2023 after having served 34 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments: Laura Coates, a former Assistant United States Attorney and CNN and talk radio host, interviewed Holmes, who was convicted without any substantial evidence of guilty, and who was sentenced to 400 years in prison.

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