final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; David A. Haimes, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Joseph D.
Coronato, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach,
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Karen E. Ehrlich, Assistant
Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellee.
state appeals the trial court's entering a judgment of
acquittal after a jury found appellant guilty of possession
of cocaine. We find that, when viewing the facts in the light
most favorable to the state, the trial court erred in
granting the judgment of acquittal and, as such, we reverse.
stopped appellee's car after seeing him park at a house,
whereupon a man entered the passenger side of the car for a
few minutes and then left. The officers' subsequent
search of the car revealed a small rock of crack cocaine on
the sliding track under the driver's seat. The evidence
at trial established that the car's registration
"came back to" appellee, but there was no evidence
as to whether he owned the car or whether anyone else drove
or rode in the vehicle regularly.
jury returned a guilty verdict. The trial court then granted
appellee's motion for judgment of acquittal, stating:
And I'm surprised the jury came back the way they did.
But under these facts, there is definitely zero evidence to
show that [appellee] was reaching that way, had thrown
something that way, had made no statements. The only evidence
in this case was he was driving the vehicle.
. . . .
You go rent a car, you borrow somebody's car, you have to
start searching now all the different crevasses to be sure
there's not a crack rock there. I don't think
that's what the law is designed for.
state is permitted to appeal a judgment of acquittal entered
after a jury verdict. See § 924.07(j), Fla.
Stat. (2009); Fla. R. App. P. 9.140(c)(1)(E). No double
jeopardy issue arises because, if there is a reversal, all
that is necessary is a reinstatement of a verdict, not a
retrial. State v. Rincon, 700 So.2d 412, 414 (Fla.
3d DCA 1997).
review de novo whether the evidence is legally sufficient to
support the trial court's granting of a judgment of
acquittal. State v. Konegen, 18 So.3d 697, 698 (Fla.
4th DCA 2009). We apply the competent substantial evidence
standard considering the evidence in the light most favorable
to the state to decide whether a judgment of acquittal is
proper. Id. at 699.
moving for a judgment of acquittal, a defendant admits not
only the facts stated in the evidence, but also every
reasonable conclusion favorable to the State that the fact
finder might fairly infer from the evidence." State
v. Odom, 862 So.2d 56, 59 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003). A trial
court should not grant a motion for judgment of acquittal
"unless the evidence, when viewed in a light most
favorable to the State, fails to establish a prima facie case
of guilt." Id. If the ...