Florida Court Discusses Grounds for Reversing Convictions

The Florida and United States Constitutions aim to protect the rights of people charged with crimes. This means, among other things, that if the prosecution violates a person’s rights at any point in a criminal proceeding, such violations also may constitute grounds for challenging convictions that were the end result of such proceedings. Merely because a person disagrees with a jury’s verdict does not mean a verdict is unjust, however, as demonstrated in a recent ruling delivered in a Florida burglary case. If you are accused of burglary, it is smart to speak to a Tampa theft crime defense lawyer concerning your rights.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Setting

It is reported that the State charged the defendant with burglary of an occupied dwelling with assault and was subsequently convicted of the lesser included offense of burglary of an occupied dwelling. He moved for acquittal prior to the verdict, but the trial court denied his motion.

Allegedly, the defendant subsequently filed an appeal, raising three arguments: first, that the circuit court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal, asserting that the State had not presented sufficient evidence of intent to commit an offense upon entry into the victim’s home; second, that he was entitled to a twelve-person jury under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and third, that the trial court erred in not granting his motion to correct a sentencing error regarding the imposition of a public defender fee.

Grounds for Reversing Convictions

On appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction but reversed the sentence in part. Regarding the trial court’s denial of the motion for judgment of acquittal, the court found that the evidence presented by the State, including testimony from the victim of the alleged crime, testimony, was sufficient to support the conviction for burglary. As such, the court affirmed the trial court’s decision. Concerning the request for a twelve-person jury, the court noted it previously rejected similar arguments and had no basis for disturbing its precedent.

However, the court found merit in the defendant’s argument regarding the sentencing error. Specifically, the court explained that the defendant had not been given notice of, or the opportunity to contest, the imposition of a $5,000 public defender fee exceeding the statutory minimum. The court determined that the circuit court had erred in not addressing this issue properly. Therefore, the court reversed the sentencing judgment to the extent that it imposed the $5,000 fee and remanded the case for the trial court to correct this error.

Confer with a Skilled Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

Burglary, and other theft offenses, carry substantial penalties, but there are often multiple defenses people charged with such crimes can assert to avoid convictions. If you are charged with burglary or any other crime, it is wise to confer with an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Tampa theft crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can assess the circumstances surrounding your charges and aid you in seeking the best legal result possible under the facts of your case. You can reach Hanlon Law by using the form online or by calling us at 813-228-7095 to arrange a conference.

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