Bell v. StateAnnotate this Case
Defendant was convicted and sentenced for lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim under twelve years of age by an offender eighteen years of age or older and for failure to appear. Defendant appealed, arguing that certain comments made by a prosecutor during closing argument were improper. The court of appeal affirmed, holding, among other things, that because the victim's age was not an issue which only Defendant was capable of refuting, the prosecutor's comment in regard to the victim's age could not be construed as a comment on Defendant's right to remain silent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the prosecutor's comment did not constitute an improper comment on Defendant's right to remain silent; (2) the court of appeal erred in holding that a second comment likewise did not constitute an improper comment on Defendant's right to remain silent and that two additional comments constituted improper burden shifting; but (3) the objections to the improper comments were not preserved for appellate review, and because the comments did not constitute fundamental error, they did not require reversal.