final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; Edward H. Merrigan Jr., Judge; L.T. Case No.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Richard B. Greene, Assistant
Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Luke R.
Napodano, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
appeal, the trial court gave a jury instruction that
possession of recently stolen property, unless satisfactorily
explained, gives rise to an inference appellant knew or
should have known the property was stolen. We find the trial
court gave this instruction in error, and thus, we reverse
the two convictions for dealing in stolen property. We affirm
the two convictions for false verification of ownership to a
pawn broker without further comment.
trial, the testimony established that appellant was a friend
of the victim. Sometime between June 6 and June 9, the victim
loaned appellant a ladder, a chainsaw, and a pressure washer
for appellant to remedy a homeowner association violation.
The victim even helped appellant use the equipment until it
was too dark to continue. The victim told appellant that he
could continue to use the equipment until the project was
completed. The victim did not specify how long appellant
could keep the equipment, but the trial testimony confirmed
that the city gave appellant two weeks to complete the
victim was out of town from June 15 to June 30. When the
victim returned, he tried to contact appellant without
success. The victim went to appellant's home, and was
able to retrieve only the ladder at appellant's
residence. The victim, who never heard from appellant,
finally reported the chainsaw and pressure washer stolen to
chainsaw and pressure washer were eventually located at a
pawn shop, with the transaction forms showing appellant had
pawned the chainsaw on June 10 and the pressure washer on
June 16. Appellant signed forms affirming that he was the
owner of the two items he pawned. The victim testified that
the recovered equipment was in the same condition as when he
lent them to appellant.
at trial, claimed that he was unable to use the pressure
washer because there was a hole burned in the water hose and
that he accidentally dropped the chainsaw while cutting tree
limbs. Appellant claimed that he pawned the items in order to
get money to buy the victim replacement equipment.
objected to instructing the jury on the inference that his
possession of the chainsaw and pressure washer meant that he
knew or should have known the property was recently stolen.
Appellant argued that the property was not, in fact, stolen
since the victim voluntarily lent the equipment to him to
use. The trial court overruled the objection, and stated:
I understand again what your argument is, he had possession
[sic] to have those tools and specifically the chainsaw and
the pressure washer at his home. He certainly didn't have
-- I guess my position would be that once he left his
property with those items, to go to a pawn shop, at that
point he no longer has permission to temporarily have them.
He has basically converted them to his own use and they
become stolen property.
trial court instructed the jury that to prove the crime of
dealing in stolen property, the state must prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that appellant trafficked in or endeavored
to traffic in a chainsaw and a pressure washer and that
appellant knew or should have known that the items were
stolen. The court further instructed the jury, over
Proof of possession of recently stolen property, unless
satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the
person in possession of the property knew or should have