Articles Posted in Kidnapping

It is not uncommon for people to be charged with multiple crimes stemming from a singular incident. While the State can lawfully bring such charges, the prosecution must nonetheless prove the discrete elements of each offense in order to obtain guilty verdicts. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden, it should not be able to obtain a valid conviction. Recently, a Florida court discussed what the State must show to establish guilt for kidnapping charges arising out of an armed robbery in a case in which it ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal. If you are accused of a violent offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a Clearwater kidnapping defense lawyer about your possible defenses.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including armed robbery and kidnapping. He was found guilty and sentenced to live in prison as a repeat offender on the robbery and kidnapping charges. He did not contest his sentence or armed robbery conviction and, therefore, would spend life in prison regardless of the outcome of any appeal. He appealed regardless, arguing that his kidnapping conviction did not pass the Faison test and, therefore, should be vacated.

Proving Guilt for Kidnapping in the Context of Other Offenses

The court denied the defendant’s appeal and affirmed his conviction. In doing so, it explained that in Faison v. State, the Florida Supreme Court established a test for determining if there was sufficient evidence to convict a defendant for kidnapping, in addition to a primary offense, if the confinement or taking in question was allegedly done to assist the primary offense.

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In many instances in which a person is accused of committing a crime, he or she will face additional charges due to acts that allegedly occurred during the commission of the crime. For example, it is not uncommon for a person charged with robbery to face kidnapping charges as well. The State must prove specific elements to demonstrate that a kidnapping facilitated the commission of a crime, and the failure to do so should result in a dismissal. The confinement necessary to support a conviction for a kidnapping that allegedly aided a defendant in committing another felony was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in a case in which the defendant’s conviction was ultimately overturned. If you are accused of kidnapping, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Clearwater criminal defense lawyer about your rights.

The Alleged Crime

Allegedly, the defendant took part in the robbery of an auto parts store. He was charged with multiple offenses, including robbery and kidnapping the store manager and employees by imprisoning them against their will with the intent to commit or aid the underlying robbery. He was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he violated the applicable kidnapping statute. The court ultimately agreed with the defendant regarding one of his kidnapping convictions and remanded the matter for the entry of conviction for the lesser included offense of false imprisonment.

The Faison Test

Many years ago, the Florida courts expressed a concern that the terms of the State kidnapping statute would result in any criminal act that naturally involved the confinement of another person, like robbery, also being charged as a kidnapping. Thus, the Florida Supreme Court developed a three-part test, known as the Faison test, for evaluating whether confinement that happens during the commission of a different felony is adequate to constitute a separate kidnapping offense. Continue Reading ›

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