Thursday, December 11, 2014

Criminal Law

Scott v. State, 39 FLW D2458b (Fla. 4th DCA) – November 26, 2014
Law Enforcement were conducting surveillance of a residence for the purpose of executing an arrest warrant on someone named R.Q.  During the surveillance, the defendant exited the residence.  The officers approached defendant, at which time he denied being R.Q., and provided them with his name.  The officers were unable to confirm his identity via computer check, so the defendant invited them into the residence while he looked for his ID.  He was unable to locate it, and he and the officers returned outside.  The officers asked defendant to sit on the porch while they continued their efforts to confirm his identity.  A few minutes later, the defendant walked back into the house, locked the door, and exited through the rear of the residence.  The officers saw defendant jump the back fence and attempt to flee, but he was caught and arrested for Resisting an Officer without Violence (it was later established that he was not the person named in the arrest warrant).  At trial, the defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal (JOA), arguing that his interaction with the officers constituted a consensual encounter, and therefore he had the right to end it however and whenever he wanted.  The court denied the motion, and the defendant was convicted.  This appeal ensued. The Fourth District Court of Appeal held that while fleeing a valid investigatory stop could support a resisting charge, the interaction with the defendant in this case did not constitute a valid detention.  The trial court was reversed, and the JOA was granted.