The Florida Supreme Court has recently come down with two cases which deal with due process when the state destroys evidence. The first is Patterson v. State found at 199 So. 3d 253 (Fla. 2016). That case involved the arson of a vehicle. The state’s expert conducted a forensic analysis of the truck and before the defense could conduct its own analysis, the state destroyed the truck rendering any further analysis impossible. The Supreme Court ruled that because the state did not engage in “bad faith” that due process was not violated. Only where the defense can establish that the state destroyed evidence knowing that it was exculpatory to the defendant, would due process be violated.
The second case is Anderson v. State, 220 So. 3d 1133 (Fla. 2017). Factually, the defendant went to trial and lost. Shortly thereafter, the state failed to preserve the defendant’s car, tire casts and the victim’s clothing in a case that involved the killing of the victim by running over him with the car. The defense alleged a violation of due process but once again our state Supreme Court ruled that since no bad faith was present, no relief would be afforded the defendant.