In a Florida kidnapping case, the issue on appeal was whether the defendant’s kidnapping convictions reflected Florida confinement law. The defendant argued that his actions did not constitute kidnapping because themovements of his victims were slight and inconsequential and did not assist the commission of another crime.
The defendant allegedly approached the victims at a neighborhood park. There was a group of five men and two women hanging out at night. When the group was leaving the park, the defendant approached them and brandished a handgun. He ordered all of the victims on the ground and took personal items, including a cell phone and a wallet.
The defendant ordered the two women to disrobe. The defendant then brought them behind a large tree. He then proceeded to sexually assault one of the women. Eventually, one of the victims yelled for everyone to run, and everyone took off in different directions.
The defendant was convicted of numerous crimes, but he only appealed the kidnapping convictions.
Florida Statutes Section 787.01(1)(a)2 defines kidnapping as the confinement, abduction, or imprisonment of another person, using force, secrecy, or threat, when such confinement was against his or her will and without rightful authority, with the intent to begin or continue the commission of a felony.
The appeals court found that the defendant deliberately directed the women to disrobe before ordering them to move behind the tree that the defendant was attempting to hide behind while committing the sexual battery. These actions, the court reasoned, were not inconsequential nor were they inherent in the act of sexual battery, and viewed in the light most favorable to the State, they established that the defendant intended to make it easier to commit sexual batteries and to reduce the danger of detection.
The appeals court relied on several earlier Florida decisions to reach their conclusion. For instance, in Carter v. State, 762 So. 2d 1024 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000), the appeals court affirmed the kidnapping conviction when the defendant entered a gym where the victim was alone in the public exercise area, robbed her at gunpoint, and directed her through a doorway into a nearby hallway before committing sexual battery. Similarly, in Bush v. State, 526 So. 2d 992, 993-94 (Fla. 4th DCA 1988), the court affirmed the kidnapping conviction when the defendant dragged the victim from the side of a well-traveled road into the woods.
Will Hanlon has decades of experience as an attorney helping people charged with a violent crime. Bringing on a lawyer at the outset of the legal process may be a decision that saves you from a conviction or another life-altering penalty. Although you may not have yet been charged with a crime, Will Hanlon’s experience can help if charges are filed. If you are questioned, arrested, or charged with a violent crime in Clearwater, call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413.
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Limitations Period Expired for Sex Crime Charge, Rules Florida Appeals Court, Clearwater & St. Petersburg Criminal Lawyer Blog, October 6, 2017