FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Manatee County; Scott M. Brownell,
L. Dimmig, II, Public Defender, and Amanda V. Isaacs,
Assistant Public Defender, Bartow, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Susan M.
Shanahan, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee.
appeals the juvenile court's disposition order
withholding adjudication but finding that she committed the
delinquent act of possession of a firearm by a minor.
See § 790.22(3), (5), Fla. Stat. (2014). The
State concedes that the corpus delicti of the charge
consisted solely of inadmissible evidence. We agree and
reverse because without this evidence J.J.J. was entitled to
adjudicatory hearing, the State called a single witness,
Officer Chris Rossman. He testified that he was dispatched to
the scene of a hit-and-run accident. Upon his arrival, he
observed that one of the vehicles was unattended and
contained two rifles wedged between the front seats and the
center console. When the officer learned that J.J.J.'s
father owned the unattended vehicle, he proceeded to the
father's nearby residence to question him.
direct examination, the officer testified that he asked
J.J.J.'s father "if he knew where his vehicle
was." The defense promptly objected that the
officer's recitation of J.J.J.'s father's
response would be hearsay. The court agreed but ruled that
the officer could testify to what he did after speaking with
J.J.J.'s father. The State then proceeded with
questioning as follows:
STATE: So based on the things you heard from [J.J.J.'s
father] what did you determine it was necessary to do at that
WITNESS: Locate [J.J.J.].
THE COURT: And why is it important for you to locate
WITNESS: Based on the information that I obtained from
[J.J.J.'s father] she would have been the --.
again the defense objected, insisting that the officer's
statement constituted inadmissible hearsay. The court
overruled the objection, reasoning that the statement was
"just explaining why [the officer] went to find
[J.J.J.]. So he went to find [J.J.J.] based on statements
from [J.J.J.'s father]."
officer testified that he located J.J.J. several hours later.
When the State inquired as to what J.J.J. told him during the
subsequent interview, the defense once again objected, this
time on the grounds of corpus delicti. Defense counsel argued
that the State had presented no evidence, other than the
previously admitted hearsay, of the crime of possession of a
firearm by a minor. Once again the court overruled the
objection. The officer then recounted J.J.J.'s admission