County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Ė Dismissal Ė Dismissal was error when the State was never given notice of the defendantís motion or an opportunity to review the documents allegedly exonerating the defendant. Order of dismissal reversed. State v. Pinzon, No. CRC 05-43 APANO, (Fla. 6th Cir.App.Ct. May 11, 2006).

 

 

NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES FOR REHEARING

AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

 

 

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

 

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

††††††††††† Appellant,

 

v.                                                                                                                                            

Appeal No. CRC 05-43 APANO

UCN522005AP000043XXXXCR

 

 

ANTONIO JOSE PINZON

 

††††††††††† Appellee.

________________________________/

 

 

Opinion filed ________________.

 

Appeal from a decision of the

Pinellas County Court

County Judge William Overton

 

Hutch Pinder, Esq.

Assistant State Attorney

 

 

ORDER AND OPINION

 

††††††††††† (J. Morris)

 

 

††††††††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Stateís appeal from a decision of the Pinellas County Court dismissing the charge against the defendant. After reviewing the brief and record --- the appellee did not file an answer brief --- this Court reverses the decision of the trial court.

††††††††††† During a pre-trial conference, the trial court dismissed the DWLSR charge against the defendant. At the conference, an unnamed individual identified himself as the defendantís brother and presented the trial judge with documents purporting to show that the defendant had a hardship driverís license at the time he was alleged to have been driving. The trial court treated the documents as a motion to dismiss. The State asked for time to review the documents, but the trial court dismissed the charge. The State objected to the dismissal, and has filed this appeal seeking review of the trial courtís decision. The standard of review in this matter is de novo. Bell v. State, 835 So.2d 392 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003).

††††††††††† Dismissing the charge was error. The State was never given notice of the defendantís motion and never given an opportunity to review the documents to determine if they were what the defendant, through his brother, claimed they were. The State was also never given an opportunity to dispute the factual assertions made by the defendant. And it appears the State disputes the claim that the defendant had a hardship license at the time of the incident. This factual dispute should not have been resolved at pre-trial with a summary procedure that did not provide the State with an opportunity to review or contest the defendantís documents. The State was denied due process by this procedure. See State v. Epps, 592 So.2d 1233 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992).

††††††††††† IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the order of dismissal is reversed, and this


case is remanded to the trial court for action consistent with this Order and Opinion.

††††††††††† DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of April, 2006.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† _____________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† David A. Demers

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ______________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Robert J. Morris, Jr.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ______________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Irene H. Sullivan

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

cc:††††††† State Attorney

 

††††††††††† Antonio Pinzon

 

††††††††††† Judge Overton