FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Highlands County; Anthony
Ritenour, Acting Circuit Judge.
L. Dimmig, II, Public Defender, and Caroline Joan S. Picart,
Special Assistant Public Defender, Bartow, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Chelsea S.
Alper, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee.
Taylor appeals the judgments and sentences imposed following
a jury verdict finding him guilty of battery on a law
enforcement officer and resisting officers with violence. Mr.
Taylor asserts seven claims of error by the trial court.
After review, we find no reversible error and affirm. We
write to discuss the issues created by the State's
request to amend the charging information after it announced
that it had rested its case.
information filed by the State to institute its prosecution
alleged in the battery count that the officer struck was
Officer Garza. The allegation was incorrect; the record from
the outset indicates that the correct officer to identify as
the alleged victim was Officer Tomblin. It is within this
context that the claim of error is addressed.
a traffic infraction occurring on August 16, 2014, two
officers, Garza and Tomblin, came into contact with Mr.
Taylor. The situation deteriorated and the officers sought to
arrest Mr. Taylor, resulting in a struggle. Consistent with
earlier reports, Officer Tomblin testified at trial that Mr.
Taylor struck him intentionally during the struggle. He
testified that he was struck by a closed fist in the area of
his chin and lip. In response, he delivered three knee
Garza testified at trial regarding the same incident. He
testified that he did not see Officer Tomblin being struck by
Mr. Taylor. Further, he testified that Mr. Taylor did not
the State rested, counsel for Mr. Taylor moved for a judgment
of acquittal asserting correctly that the State had failed to
prove that Mr. Taylor had battered Officer Garza. In fact,
the evidence brought forth by the State established that Mr.
Taylor had not struck or hit the officer. In response, the
State asked the court for leave to reopen its case for the
purpose of amending the identity of the victim alleged in the
battery count from Officer Garza to Officer Tomblin. Over
objection by the defense, the trial court granted the
complete the full picture occurring at trial, two other
matters are clearly demonstrated by the record before this
court. First, the correct identity of the victim was known
from the inception of the case. The trial court noted that
the arrest report, depositions, and a photo of the injury all
correctly identified Officer Tomblin as the officer alleged
to have been battered. Second, we note that the defendant
offered a witness at trial who testified as to the events
surrounding the arrest and, critically, that any touching of
the officer was accidental and not intentional. The defense
witness claimed that it was Officer Tomblin who had been
Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.140(a)(2) provides that, in
circuit court, prosecutions shall be made by indictment or
information. Here, the State elected to bring charges by
information. Each count of the information "shall allege
the essential facts constituting the offense charged."
Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.140(d)(1). One of the essential facts is
the identity of the victim. Holborough v. State, 103
So.3d 221, 223 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) ("It is well
established in Florida law that for crimes against persons,
the name of the person victimized is an essential element of
the crime that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt
in a criminal prosecution."). Subsection (o) of the rule
provides, in pertinent part, that no information or count is
to be dismissed or judgment arrested because of a defect
unless the information is so vague or indistinct as to
mislead the accused in the preparation of a defense.
State v. Anderson, 537 So.2d 1373, 1375 (Fla. 1989),
the supreme court discussed the procedure to be followed when
addressing a proposed amendment to an information. Quoting
from Lackos v. State, 339 So.2d 217, 219 (Fla.
1976), the court noted:
The modern trend in both criminal and civil proceedings is to
excuse technical defects which have no bearing upon the
substantial rights of the parties. When procedural
irregularities occur, the emphasis is on determining whether
anyone was prejudiced by the ...