final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 16-784, Angelica Zayas, Judge.
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Jonathan Greenberg,
Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Kayla H. McNab, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
LOGUE, SCALES, and LUCK, JJ.
appeals an order placing him on probation following an
adjudicatory hearing in which he was found to have trespassed
on school property. J.H. contends the trial court erred in
denying his judgment for dismissal at the close of the
evidence because the State failed to prove he had no
legitimate business for being at the school. We affirm.
was charged for trespassing on the grounds of Ernest R.
Graham K-8 Academy, in violation of Florida Statute section
810.097. § 810.097(1), Fla. Stat. (2015) ("Any
person who . . . [d]oes not have a legitimate business on the
campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to
enter or remain upon school property . . . and who enters or
remains upon the campus . . . commits a trespass upon the
grounds of a school facility . . . ."). To prove this
charge, the State had to present sufficient evidence to
establish two elements: (1) J.H. entered or remained on the
campus of the school; and (2) J.H. did not have any
legitimate business on the campus or any other authorization,
license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school
property. Fla. Std. Jury Instr. (Crim.) 13.5(a). The second
element requires proof "that one entering or remaining
on a school campus . . . lack[s] any purpose for being there
which is connected with the operation of the school."
A.C. v. State, 538 So.2d 136, 137 (Fla. 3d
The granting of a motion for judgment of dismissal is
warranted only if "the evidence is insufficient to
establish a prima facie case of guilt against the
child." "The standard of review that applies to a
motion for judgment of dismissal in a juvenile case is the
same standard that applies to a motion for judgment of
acquittal in a criminal case." "We review the trial
court's disposition of the motion for dismissal under the
de novo standard, " viewing the evidence "in the
light most favorable to the State." "If, upon
reviewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the
State, a rational fact-finder could find the elements of the
crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then the evidence is
sufficient to sustain the adjudication of delinquency."
C.E.L. v. State, 995 So.2d 558, 560 (Fla. 2d DCA
2008) (citations and alteration omitted), approved,
24 So.3d 1181 (Fla. 2009).
school's principal, Maida Alfaro, the sole witness at the
adjudicatory hearing, testified that on the second week of
the new school year, September 1, 2015, at dismissal time, at
about 3 p.m., she saw J.H. wearing a school uniform in the
middle school's dismissal area. When she saw J.H., a
former student of the school, in an area where only
registered students, parents and school staff were allowed,
Ms. Alfaro was confused as to whether J.H. had re-registered.
Ms. Alfaro had her assistant pull J.H.'s computer school
records. The records showed that, although J.H.'s parents
had recently requested and been denied a transfer back into
the school, J.H. was enrolled at Miami Lakes Middle for that
school year, and had an unexcused absence for that day from
Alfaro further testified that the school's campus is
closed and all visitors to the school must follow a set
procedure to be admitted on the campus. This procedure
required the visitor to show identification to security
personnel and go directly to the school's main office to
obtain authorization. Ms. Alfaro stated J.H. did not seek or
obtain such authorization on the day in question.
principal, in other words, confirmed that J.H. was not a
student at the school (even though he was wearing the
school's uniform); J.H. was in a non-public area of the
school; J.H. was registered at another school but did not
attend that day; and J.H. did not check in as a visitor or
seek authorization to be there. We conclude that this
evidence was sufficient for the trier of fact to find J.H.
did not have legitimate business on the campus.
contends that the principal should have asked J.H. why he was
at the school since he may have had a legitimate reason for
being on campus. Section 810.097(1) does not require that
school personnel ask the trespasser his reasons for being on
campus to determine whether he had legitimate business, and
we decline the invitation to add such a requirement to the
statute. The Florida courts, moreover, have found sufficient
evidence to support a violation of section 810.097(1) based
on the personal observation of school officials, without
having to ask what legitimate reason or authorization the
juvenile may have had for being on campus. See M.M. v.
State, 187 So.3d 300, 302 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016)
("Despite instructions from both the dean and the school
resource officer that he must remain in the ...