Courtney S. Brown, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Leon County. Angela C.
J. Joffe, Joffe Law, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Virginia Harris, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
S. Brown ("Appellant") appeals her convictions and
sentences for attempted second-degree murder, shooting at or
into a building, possession of a firearm by a convicted
felon, and throwing a deadly missile into a building. We
affirm in all respects and write only to explain why the
trial court properly denied Appellant's motion for
judgment of acquittal.
Richard Golden, and LaPorshia Patterson were charged with
attempted first-degree murder (count I) and shooting at or
into a building (count II). Appellant also was charged with
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (count III) and
throwing a deadly missile into a building (count V).
the state's case-in-chief, testimony was presented that
LaPorshia Patterson was involved in a fistfight with Erica
Kimble in the presence of Appellant and her boyfriend,
Richard Golden. Later that evening, Golden picked up
Appellant and drove her to a trailer. Ebony Walker, Kianna
Powell, Erica Kimble, Paradise Kimble, Jermaine Walker, and
Johnayshin Wade lived in the trailer and were asleep.
Appellant got out of Golden's car and repeatedly knocked
on the door. When no one answered, Golden saw Appellant throw
something through the trailer's window. Ebony Walker and
Kianna Powell woke up after a brick was thrown through the
kitchen window. They went to the door and saw Appellant
getting into the front passenger seat of Golden's car.
accused someone of hitting her at a nightclub and demanded
that they come outside. When Walker responded that she did
not know what Appellant was talking about, Appellant reached
across Golden and started shooting repeatedly. Walker,
Powell, and Golden identified Appellant as the shooter. After
Appellant started shooting, a truck came around the corner,
and Powell saw LaPorshia Patterson shooting from the truck.
After the shooting, Walker read the following post on
Patterson's Facebook page: "Dese hoes feeln like dey
bullet proof. Bang, bang in my Gotti voice." Appellant
responded, "Pow. Damn sho can show em better then I can
Federico of the Tallahassee Police Department testified that
he stopped a vehicle driven by Golden. Appellant was in the
front passenger seat, and Courtney Barnes and Cortlandt
Barnes were in the back seat. A video and audio recording was
played of a conversation between Appellant and Golden in the
back seat of Federico's patrol car. Federico testified
that he heard Golden tell Appellant that she had gunpowder on
her hands and that Appellant responded, "That's what
I'm saying, like." Afterwards, Golden told Federico
that he was the shooter. At trial, Golden admitted initially
telling the police that he had the gun, that he was the only
person doing the shooting, and that Appellant had nothing to
do with it, but claimed that he did this to give Appellant
time to clean the gunpowder off her hands.
the state rested, defense counsel moved for a judgment of
acquittal, which was denied by the trial court. During the
defense's case, Courtney Barnes, Cortlandt Barnes, and
Appellant testified that Richard Golden was the shooter and
that Appellant was not involved in the shooting. After the
defense rested, defense counsel renewed the motion for
judgment of acquittal, which again was denied by the trial
court. The jury returned a verdict finding Appellant guilty
of the lesser included offense of attempted second-degree
murder as to count I and guilty as charged as to counts II,
III, and V with the specific finding that Appellant actually
possessed and discharged a firearm. The trial court
adjudicated Appellant guilty and sentenced her to concurrent
prison terms of thirty years with a twenty-year mandatory
minimum on count I and fifteen years on counts II, III, and
V. This appeal followed.
motion for judgment of acquittal, the trial court should not
grant the motion unless the evidence, viewed in a light most
favorable to the state, does not establish a prima facie case
of guilt. Dupree v. State, 705 So.2d 90, 93 (Fla.
4th DCA 1998) (en banc). Because a motion for judgment of
acquittal raises an issue of law, the court's ruling on
the motion is reviewed under the de novo standard. Jones
v. State, 790 So.2d 1194, 1197 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001) (en
banc). Like the trial court, the appellate court must
consider the evidence and all reasonable inferences from the
evidence in a light most favorable to the state. Id.
case, Appellant claims that the trial court erred in denying
her motion for judgment of acquittal. In doing so, Appellant
asserts that (1) her convictions were based wholly on
circumstantial evidence; (2) the evidence was insufficient to
establish Appellant's guilt because the witnesses told
conflicting stories concerning who actually did the shooting;
and (3) none of the witnesses, except Appellant, could
testify as to Appellant's intent. The state correctly
responds that the evidence against Appellant was not wholly
circumstantial because (1) three eyewitnesses, Ebony Walker,
Kianna Powell, and Richard Golden, testified that they saw
Appellant holding and firing a gun; and (2) one eyewitness,
Richard Golden, testified that he saw Appellant throw the
brick through the window of the trailer.
the mere fact that there was conflicting witness testimony
does not justify a judgment of acquittal because any
conflicts in the evidence must be viewed in a light most
favorable to the state. See Nelson v. State, 753
So.2d 648, 649 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) ("On review, the
appellate court must view the conflicting evidence in a light
most favorable to the state."). Appellant is improperly
asking this court to reweigh the evidence and assess the
credibility of the witnesses. See State v. Konegen,
18 So.3d 697, 700 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) ("Where there is
contradictory, conflicting testimony, 'the weight of the
evidence and the witnesses' credibility ...