CRIMINAL LAW – Jury Trial/Evidence- sufficiency
of evidence- prosecution for battery-testimony of two police officers that
they observed the defendant push the victim in the chest was sufficient to
prove prima facie case for battery-conviction affirmed. Hall
v. State, No.: 03-18 (Fla. Cir. App.
Ct. April 3, 2003).
THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR
APPEAL NO.: 02-05480CFANO
from verdict, judgment and sentence Pinellas County Court
Judge Thomas B. Freeman
THIS MATTER is before the Court
on the defendant’s appeal of a post jury-trial verdict, judgment and sentence
that the defendant argues was the result of the trial court’s erroneous denial
of the defendant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal. After reviewing the briefs and record, this
Court affirms the verdict, judgment and sentence.
On December 30, 2001, the defendant was arrested
for the offense of Battery. The case proceeded to jury trial on March 13, 2002. The State presented the testimony of three witness.
Officer Linda Stevrak with the Clearwater Police Department testified
that while waiting for a taxi with the defendant and his family, the defendant
became very vocal. The defendant was yelling and screaming at the
officer. The defendant’s wife attempted
to calm the defendant, stepping in front of him. Officer Stevrak testified that the defendant
then shoved his wife with both of his hands.
Officer Albert Grandville of the Clearwater Police Department testified
that he also observed the defendant push his wife in the chest while telling
her: “Get away from me.” The State’s
final witness was the victim, the defendant’s wife. She denied trying to calm the defendant. She stated that she was standing behind the
defendant and that she did not recall the defendant touching her. After the close of the State’s case, the defendant
moved for a judgment of acquittal arguing that the State had failed to show
that the touching was without the consent of the victim. The jury returned a verdict of guilty and the
trial court imposed judgment and sentence.
On March 21, 2002,
the defendant filed a Motion for Judgment of Acquittal or Motion for New Trial,
which was denied. This appeal followed.
and credibility are solely within the province of the fact finder; the appellate
court’s only function is to determine sufficiency as a matter of law.”
State v. Santomas, 764 So.2d 735 (Fla.
2d DCA 2000). Conflicts in the evidence
and questions about witness’ credibility will not justify reversal when evidence
is legally sufficient to support the conviction. Wetherington v. State, 263 So. 294 (Fla.
3d DCA 1972). In this case, the evidence
before the jury was the testimony of the two police officers that they observed
the defendant push the victim in the chest while stating: “Get away from me.”
The defendant’s theory is that without evidence that the touching was
against the victim’s will, there was no crime.
“A view of the law that a victim of domestic violence can consent to
the batteries and injuries perpetrated on him or her is incompatible with
both the general law of battery and the specific legislative intent expressed
in §741.2901 (2) Florida Statutes (1999) which states: ‘It is the intent of
the Legislature that domestic violence be treated as a criminal act rather
than a private matter.’” State v. Conely, 799 So.2d 400 (Fla. 4th DCA
2001) (concurring opinion by Judge Warner).
convict the defendant of the charge accused, the jury had to find, among other
things, that the defendant intentionally touched the victim against her will.
This Court finds that there is competent evidence to support the verdict
and judgment and the trial court did not err in refusing to remove the case
from the jury. It is therefore,
AND ADJUDGED that the verdict, judgment and sentence is affirmed.
AND ORDERED in Chambers at Clearwater,
Pinellas County, Florida
on this __________ day of ____________, 2003.
Thomas B. Freeman