Florida Court Discusses Evidence Needed to Prove Kidnapping

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.

Under the Faison test, to support a kidnapping charge, a confinement during the commission of another felony must not be inconsequential, slight, or merely incidental to the other crime, cannot be of the type that is inherent in the nature of the other crime, and has to have some significance irrespective of the other offense, in that it makes it substantially easier to commit or greatly lessens the risk of detection.

In the subject case, the defendant argued that the State’s evidence failed to meet the second and third prong of the test. Specifically, he argued that the movement and confinement of the alleged kidnapping victims were incidental to the robberies and ceased when the robbery ended. The court ultimately agreed and reversed his conviction.

Speak to a Seasoned Clearwater Defense Attorney

A conviction for kidnapping comes with significant penalties, and it is critical for anyone charged with a kidnapping offense to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a seasoned Clearwater kidnapping defense attorney who can advise you of your potential defenses and help you to seek the best outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can reach Mr. Hanlon through the online form or by calling 727-897-5413 to set up a conference.

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