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Juvenile v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

May 30, 2018

J.A., a juvenile, Appellant,
The State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Orlando A. Prescott, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 16-1797

          Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Jonathan Greenberg, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Kayla H. McNab, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee. Before LAGOA, EMAS, and LUCK, JJ.

          LAGOA, J.

         J.A., a juvenile, appeals his withhold of adjudication of delinquency. J.A. argues that the State failed to prove the value of the truck's damaged windshield, and therefore, this Court should reduce the finding of delinquency under Count 2 of the petition from first-degree criminal mischief to second-degree criminal mischief. We find J.A.'s arguments without merit and affirm.[1]


         On the evening of July 5th, 2016, Edy Iglesias ("Iglesias") was driving home in a truck owned by his employer when J.A. and another juvenile threw rocks at the truck, which damaged the truck's windshield in two places. The following day, Iglesias called a company to repair the truck's windshield.

         The State charged J.A. with two counts: throwing a deadly missile (Count 1) and first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief (Count 2). At trial, Iglesias testified that a company he contacted repaired the windshield and that he paid the total cost of repair of $272.72, which included the cost of the windshield and labor expended. Defense counsel objected to Iglesias's testimony as "hearsay and inferential hearsay."

         After the State rested, defense counsel moved for a judgment of dismissal and argued that the State failed to prove the fair market value of the windshield and its repair. The trial court denied the motion for judgment of dismissal and found that the State proved damages and the value of the damaged property. The trial court entered an order withholding adjudication of delinquency as well as an order of restitution for $272.72, and placed J.A. on probation. This timely appeal followed.

         II. ANALYSIS

         On appeal, J.A. argues that the State did not present sufficient evidence to prove the value of the damage to the property. We disagree. In a criminal mischief case, the amount of damage is an essential element of the crime of felony criminal mischief and the crime of first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief. See Marrero v. State, 71 So.3d 881, 887 (Fla. 2011); B.J.M. v. State, 185 So.3d 692, 693 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016). For first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief, the State must prove that the defendant's criminal mischief resulted in damage to property greater than $200 but less than $1000. See § 806.13(1)(b)2., Fla. Stat. (2016). "Absent proof of the amount of damage, an act of criminal mischief, as defined by the criminal mischief statute, is a misdemeanor of the second degree." Marrero, 71 So.3d at 887 (emphasis in original). Additionally, for an order of restitution, evidence demonstrating the amount of loss "must be established through more than mere speculation; it must be based on competent evidence." Glaubius v. State, 688 So.2d 913, 916 (Fla. 1997).

         At trial, the State presented Iglesias's own testimony regarding the amount he paid for the repair. The State did not introduce Iglesias's actual repair bill showing the cost of replacing the windshield, any estimates that Iglesias may have received for the repair, or any other documentary evidence (e.g., a cancelled check or a credit card bill) establishing the cost of the repair.

         In a similar case, C.H. v. State, 199 So.3d 447 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016), this Court found that the victim's testimony that he paid $500 as his insurance deductible to repair his car sufficiently established that amount of damage and therefore supported an adjudication for first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief. Id. at 448.[2] As in C.H., the owner's testimony here was not inadmissible hearsay as it did not involve an out-of-court statement, but rather an act in which the owner was a participant. See also L.D.G. v. State, 960 So.2d 767, 767-68 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (finding that the victim's testimony that she paid $1250- consisting of her $500 deductible and insurer's payment of $750-to repair car door was not inadmissible hearsay and was sufficient to establish damage in excess of $1000 for purposes of felony ...

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