The rule of completeness is an important rule that can offer protection against the misuse of a recorded statement you make to the police in a Miami criminal case. However, this rule has its limits. In a recent Florida Supreme Court case, the Court considered the rule of completeness, as well as the evidence rule that permits impeachment of hearsay declarants.
At issue was whether section 90.108(1) (the rule of completeness) allows a defendant to require the government to put into evidence an entire video recording of his statement to the cops where the government questioned a detective about the defendant’s inculpatory statements without putting the recording into the record. Also at issue was whether the government could impeach a defendant under section 90.806(1), which permitted an attack on a hearsay declarant’s credibility.
The case arose when a 68-year-old retired man took a 27-year-old man home with him from the beach. When the victim didn’t arrive at his friend’s house for dinner as planned, the friend went to the victim’s house where he found the victim lying facedown inside. Witnesses told a detective they’d seen the victim eating with someone younger earlier that day. The medical examiner decided that the victim had the kinds of injuries that were consistent with being choked and decided it was likely that he’d been killed by force. Other evidence, including video surveillance footage from stores, showed that the defendant had used the victim’s credit card.