Florida Third District Court of Appeal – Criminal Headnotes – December 20, 2017
STEVEN BATEMAN V. STATE OF FLORIDA – CORRUPTION OF PUBLIC OFFICIAL; SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE
Direct appeal from an order denying in part a motion for acquittal, and cross-appeal by the state from the granting of that motion in part.
The state charged the former mayor of Homestead, Florida with multiple counts of corruption arising from his having undertaken, while mayor, to represent a health center in seeking to expedite permitting by Miami-Dade County of a sewer pumping station, to facilitate the center’s construction of a new facility. A jury convicted the defendant on three counts and acquitted on one.
The defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal, and the trial court granted the motion in part, as to a count alleging unlawful compensation for performance of his official duties, section 838.016(1) of the Florida statutes, but denying the motion as to counts alleging unlawful compensation for attempting to influence other officials, section 838.016(2), and failing to register as a lobbyist as required by a county ordinance.
The appeals court agreed with the trial court’s assessment that the state had not produced evidence from which the jury could property find that the defendant had represented to the health center that expediting the permitting of the pumping station was within the scope of his authority as mayor, and that therefore acquittal was proper as to that count.
The appeals court also agreed, however, that the state had produced evidence from which the jury could properly have found that the defendant had undertaken to influence other officials, and that he had failed to register as a lobbyist.
OBA NEWBHARD V. STATE OF FLORIDA – DOUBLE JEOPARDY; ROBBERY WITH FIREARM AND ATTEMPTED FELONY MURDER
Direct appeal from an order denying a motion for acquittal after a jury verdict convicting the defendant of attempted felony murder, robbery with a firearm, and two counts of aggravated assault.
The defendant argued that the state had relied on the same intentional act, i.e., shooting at the robbery victim as he fled, to prove both the attempted felony murder and the underlying robbery offense. It was only after the defendant shot at the victim, injuring him, that the victim gave up the gold chain the defendant was trying to steal.
However, the appeals court agreed with the state that the underlying robbery offense was proved by evidence of the defendant’s threats to shoot, first the victim himself, then his daughter, and then his girlfriend.\
The court distinguished Milton v. State, 161 So. 3d 1245 (Fla. 2014), in which the charges of attempted felony murder were predicated on the same act — shooting into a crowd — as the underlying charges of attempted second degree murder. In the present case, the discharge of the firearm was not an essential element of the underlying robbery.
Similarly, the court distinguished Coicou v. State, 867 So. 2d 409 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003), quashed on other grounds, 39 So. 3d 237 (Fla. 2010), in which the victim had already delivered the cash to the defendant in what was supposed to be a purchase of cocaine, and the single act of the defendant in shooting the victim was the predicate of both the robbery and attempted murder charges.