final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Samantha Schosberg Feuer, Judge; L.T. Case
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Cynthia L.
Comras and Melanie Dale Surber, Assistant Attorneys General,
West Palm Beach, for appellant.
P. Ryan, Regional Counsel, and Paul O'Neil, Assistant
Regional Counsel, Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil
Regional Counsel, West Palm Beach, for appellee.
State appeals the trial court's grant of immunity from
prosecution and dismissal of the information against Rodney
Chavers charging him with second-degree murder with a
firearm. Because the order on appeal is silent on necessary
findings, we reverse, quash the order, and remand for further
State charged Chavers with second-degree murder with a
firearm occurring on November 13, 2015. Chavers filed a
motion to dismiss based on immunity under sections 776.012(2)
and 776.032(1), Florida Statutes (2016), and Florida Rule of
Criminal Procedure 3.190(b). Chavers alleged that he was
immune from criminal prosecution because he believed, at the
time of the shooting, that the shooting was necessary to
prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or to prevent
the imminent commission of a forcible felony-the victim
robbing him of his money.
2016, the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the
motion. During the hearing, Chavers testified that on the day
of the shooting, he had $300 to $400 in cash in his
possession, which he took out of his pocket in front of a
group of friends, including the victim. One of the men told
Chavers that he should not be walking around with cash on him
because of the reputation of the neighborhood. Chavers
responded that he "was safe, " that he "had
protection, " and that he "wasn't
worried." Chavers testified that, in response, the
victim said that "you [Chavers] [sic] not gonna do shit,
I'll take it." Chavers ignored the victim's
statement and continued talking with his friends.
Chavers was then attacked from behind on the left side of his
face, knocked up against a car, and became dazed. Chavers
also testified that as he was trying to get up, he recognized
that the victim was the one that hit him, and that the victim
hit him several more times. He then saw the victim reaching
for Chavers's side, but did not know whether the victim
was reaching for Chavers's gun or the money in his
pocket. The victim eventually made contact with Chavers's
gun. Chavers tried to remove the victim's hand from his
gun. Chavers grabbed his gun and struggled to block the
attack with his other hand, and while he was still against
the car, because he was not able to get up, he pulled the
trigger. The victim did not drop to the ground. Chavers and
the victim then ran in different directions. However, the
victim eventually died of his gunshot wounds. Chavers also
testified that he had known the victim for years and had
previously seen the victim carry a firearm.
presented as a witness one of the men in the group that
night. The witness corroborated Chavers's account of the
exchange between Chavers and the victim leading up to the men
struggling over Chavers's gun, but upon seeing the two
struggle over the gun, the witness ran from the scene. He
testified he heard shots, but did not see the actual
State called witnesses as well, but none were eyewitnesses to
the exchange between Chavers and the victim or the shooting.
The State's witnesses testified regarding the actions and
statements of Chavers after the shooting.
written order, the trial court found that Chavers's
"fear of imminent great bodily harm was objectively
reasonable, " and that Chavers established by a
preponderance of the evidence that he was "reasonable in
his belief that use of the gun was necessary to prevent
imminent death or great bodily harm." As such, the trial
court decided that Chavers was entitled to immunity, and
dismissed the information. The trial court did not discuss in
the written order whether Chavers was engaged in a criminal