Self Defense, Pat-Downs gone Awry, and Guessing at Grand Theft

Reasonable Doubt

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MONTIJO v. STATE, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D796 (Fla. 5th DCA. Apr 15, 2011): Defense Appeal, Reversed – In instructing jury on justifiable use of deadly force, it was error to shift burden to defendant to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that victim was attempting to commit an aggravated battery on defendant. On a claim of self-defense the state maintains the burden of proving defendant committed the crime and did not act in self-defense. Burden never shifts to defendant to prove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant must simply present enough evidence to support giving instruction on self-defense.

DAWSON v. STATE, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D804 (Fla. 2d DCA, Apr 15, 2011): Appeal of Denial of Motion to Suppress, Reversed – Pat down search of defendant was unlawful where officers did not have reasonable suspicion that defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon. The fact that the defendant, who was stopped while walking along highway, failed to comply with officers’ requests to keep his hands out of his pockets was insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion where officers did not see any weapons or notice any bulges in defendant’s clothing that would indicate that he was carrying a weapon. Error to deny motion to suppress firearm and drugs discovered during pat down.

FRITTS v. STATE, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D816 (Fla. 1st DCA, Apr 15, 2011): Defense Appeal, Reversed – The Defendant was erroneously convicted of grand theft where evidence was insufficient to prove that value of stolen property was $300 or more. Property owner’s guess as to the value of stolen property was insufficient to prove value.

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