CRIMINAL LAW –
Jury Trial/Evidence – Sufficiency of the Evidence- There was substantial,
competent evidence to support the verdict that defendant was in violation
of Fla. Stat.§316.2065.Judgment and
sentence affirmed.Cooper v. State No. 02-85 (Fla. 6thCir. App. Ct.Nov. 14, 2002).
CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
STATE OF FLORIDA,
IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY
from verdict, judgment and sentence Pinellas
Judge Michael F. Andrews
Sherman W. Smith, Esq.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendant’s appeal of the judgment and sentence
entered by the Pinellas County Court after a non-jury trial.After reviewing the briefs and record, this
Court affirms the trial court’s decision.
June 4, 2001, the defendant
was riding her bicycle on 9th
Street at when she was stopped by Office Bruce Taylor of the St. Petersburg
Police Department and cited for reckless driving.The case was set for non-jury trial on November 26, 2001.On the morning of trial, the charge was amended
from reckless driving to the lesser civil infraction of Violation of Bicycle
Regulations, Fla. Stat.§316.2065.Officer
Taylor testified that while on routine patrol, he observed several cars in
front of him that were suddenly stopping and changing lanes abruptly.The officer observed the defendant riding her bicycle in the center
of the right southbound lane.The officer testified that there were approximately
ten cars all around, in the back of and in the lane beside the defendant that
were slamming on their brakes and drastically changing lanes.The officer had taken photographs of the roadway where the defendant
was traveling, which were introduced into evidence.On cross-examination, the officer testified that he had measured the
roadway where the photographs had been taken.The roadway measured eleven and one-half feet from lane line to lane
line, with six inches of roadway on the right and four inches of roadway on
the left.The defendant presented the testimony of William
Boudreau.Mr. Boudreau’s professional
responsibility is to make bicycling and walking safer and more convenient
as modes of transportation.Mr. Boudreau
was accepted by the trial court as an expert.Mr. Boudreau testified that the Florida Department
of Transportation “Green Book” standard for a traffic lane is twelve feet.He stated that the lane of eleven and one-half feet would be substandard
for a cyclist and a vehicle to safely share the lane together.However, upon reviewing the photograph of the roadway entered into
evidence, Mr. Boudreau testified that an automobile could pass the bicyclist.At the close of the evidence, the court found
the defendant in violation of Fla. Stat.§316.089.
This court agrees with the trial court that the defendant
was in violation of Fla. Stat.§316.089.In reviewing a finding of a jury trial, a judgment
of conviction is presumed correct and a defendant’s claim of sufficiency of
the evidence cannot prevail where there is substantial competent evidence
to support the verdict.Terry v.
State, 668 So.2d 954 (Fla.
1996).The appellate court must construe
all the evidence, and reasonable inferences there from, in a manner most favorable
to sustaining the trial court’s ruling.Hines v. State, 737 So.2d 182 (Fla. 5th
DCA 1999).The trial court’s application
of the law to the facts of this case was based on competent, substantial evidence,
which indicated that the lane where Officer Taylor cited the appellant was
not a sub-standard lane as defined in Fla.Stat.§316.2065(5)(a)(3).The evidence before the trial court included the testimony of Officer
Taylor, the photographs of the roadway were the defendant was cited, and the
testimony of the defense expert that if the passing car were to stay to the
left most portion of the lane, a car could safely pass the cyclist.
This Court finds that there is substantial competent
evidence to support the trial court’s finding of guilt.It is therefore,
AND ADJUDGED that the verdict, judgment and
sentence are affirmed.
AND ORDERED in chambers, at Clearwater,
Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of November, 2002.