Articles Posted in Kidnapping

The United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that has been historic in a case entitled the Miranda v. Arizona, in 1966Essentially, four cases made it to the United States Supreme Court with similar issues.  All cases involved interrogation by police in a closed room where the putative Defendant was cut off from the outside world.  In three of these cases, the Defendant signed statements that were admitted at trial and one of the cases involved oral statements admitted at trial.  Following the Miranda Case, whenever a person is taken into detention, that individual must be advised of their Fifth Amendment right against making any self-incriminating statements.  When the police question someone in custody, they must advise:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.
  2. Anything that you say can and will be used against you.

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is what Florida’s Speedy Trial Rules are based upon.  The right to a Speedy Trial is a fundamental right.  It is designed to eliminate incarceration for long periods of time when one is accused of a crime.  The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that persons charged with a crime will be brought to trial within 90 days of arrest where the crime charged is a misdemeanor and within 175 days where the crime charged is a felony. Rule 3.191(b) provides for a Defendant to demand a speedy trial in writing and when this occurs, he or she is entitled to trial within 50 days.  Under this rule, such a demand signifies that the Defendant is prepared to proceed to trial within 5 days.

What happens if the state fails to conduct a trial within the statutory time periods? 

Where the state fails too bring the accused to trial within the above referenced time periods, the Defendant is discharged (except for exceptions to the tolling of these time periods).

The majority of criminal cases in Florida get resolved by plea agreements.  In the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 3.171 governs plea agreements.  The prosecutor has broad discretion in plea agreements.  The prosecutor may engage in discussions with the defendant’s attorney or, if the defendant is unrepresented, with the defendant himself as long as a record is made of the discussions.

question criminal issueThe prosecutor may ask the defendant to enter a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) to a charged crime or to a lesser or related offense in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing to any of the following:

1)  abandon other charges;

On May 26, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court reversed the Florida Third District Court of Appeals and the trial court for a forcible felony kidnapping conviction. In this Florida kidnapping case, Delgado stood trial for burglary of an occupied conveyance, grand theft of an automobile, and kidnapping. After the jury convicted him of all three crimes, “he received a thirty-year sentence for the burglary of an occupied conveyance, a ten-year sentence for the auto theft, and a life sentence for the kidnapping.” Delgado v. Florida, 36 Fla. L. Weekly S220c (2011).

In this case, Delgado was accused of stealing a vehicle in which a two-year-old child was asleep in the backseat. Because the child was in the back seat of the vehicle, he was convicted of the burglary to an occupied conveyance (a motor vehicle is a conveyance and the child occupied it). The issue in this Florida kidnapping case is whether the evidence supported a conviction for kidnapping which resulted in a life sentence. Since the State Attorney did not “produce sufficient evidence demonstrating Delgado’s awareness of the victim before or during his execution of the underlying felony, critical statutory requirements for the kidnapping offense were not satisfied.” Therefore, his conviction was unsupported and could not stand.

If you are accused of kidnapping in St. Johns, Clay, or Duval County Florida, contact a Jacksonville Kidnapping Lawyer to discuss your criminal case.

The Florida Supreme Court has set forth a three-part test to determine whether a defendant’s conduct amounts to a confinement crime under section 787.01(1)(a)(2) distinct from other criminal charges involving forcible felonies. Delgado v. State, 36 Fla. L. Weekly S220c (2011) (See Faison v. State, 426 So. 2d 963 (Fla. 1983)). Under the Faison Test, “if a taking or confinement is alleged to have been done to facilitate the commission of another crime, to be kidnapping the resulting movement or confinement:

“(a) Must not be slight, inconsequential and merely incidental to the other crime;

(b) Must not be of the kind inherent in the nature of the other crime; and (c) Must have some significance independent of the other crime in that it makes the other crime substantially easier of commission or substantially lessens the risk of detection.”

If a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant is arrested for Jacksonville Kidnapping under Section 787.01(1)(a)(2), he or she has also been accused of committing another felony. In order to be charged under this Florida kidnapping law, the Jacksonville State Attorney must show not only that the defendant abducted or imprisoned the victim; the prosecutor must also establish that the defendant did so in order to commit or facilitate the commission of a felony.

The Florida Supreme Court recognizes that if Section 787.01(1)(a)(2) were applied literally, it would convert any forcible felony into two distinct felonies, kidnapping and the underlying felony, in every forcible felony case. Therefore, the Florida Supreme court uses a three-part test it adopted in Faison. The State is required to demonstrate that every element of the statute has been satisfied before turning to the three-part test.” Delgado v. State, 36 Fla. L. Weekly S220c (2011). (See Florida Supreme Court Uses the Faison Test for Florida Kidnapping Charges).

In Jacksonville, Florida, the crime of kidnapping is a first-degree felony and punishable by up to life in prison. Florida Statute Section 787.01(1)(a) defines Florida kidnapping and states:

“(1)(a) The term “kidnapping” means forcibly, secretly, or by threat confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to:

1. Hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.

Today, I started my day like any other day and like most Jacksonville Criminal Attorneys. I checked my email to address and respond to my client’s requests and questions. I checked the local Jacksonville news via (The Florida Times Union). The cover story read, “Jacksonville police issue warrant for Michelle McCoy’s boyfriend.” I learned that a Jacksonville man, Larry Thompson, was being accused of kidnapping and murdering his girlfriend. The article stated that “he has a criminal history and violent past.”

Thereafter, I continued with my daily tasks and worked on my clients’ cases. Minutes ago, I received a call from a reporter from the Florida Times Union. I assumed that he was calling about one of my current Jacksonville cases. However, he was calling about Larry Thompson, a Jacksonville murder and kidnapping case that I am not involved in. The Florida Times Union reporter asked me about a 2006 criminal case. In 2006, I was worked as an attorney at the Office of the Public Defender. I represented Mr. Thompson in a misdemeanor case. He was charged with misdemeanor, making threats, in Jacksonville. I was able to obtain a favorable disposition in which his sentence would be court cost and the two days that he already served in the Duval County Jail.

The Jacksonville reporter questioned me about this case, and I have no recollection of the facts, because I have represented hundreds to thousands of people since then. However, I do know that his criminal history cannot be used against Mr. Thompson unless the Duval County State attorney establishes sufficient grounds for it under Florida’s Williams Rule.

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