S. G., a child, 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. Jonathan
Thomas, Public Defender, and Archie F. Gardner, Jr.,
Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Heather Flanagan Ross,
Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
appeals a juvenile disposition order finding her delinquent
for resisting an officer without violence. She asserts, and
we agree, that the State's evidence was insufficient and
the trial court should have granted her motion for judgment
a minor child who, pursuant to a detention order, was under
the care of the Children's Home Society (CHS). She was
required to remain with CHS personnel at all times. In August
2017, she spent the workday at a CHS office in Tallahassee
before being told in the afternoon that she would be
returning to a particular CHS shelter for the night. She did
not want to go to that particular shelter, but to another
one. She became upset and told the CHS worker she would not
effort to have S.G. comply with its plan, the CHS worker
called law enforcement. A Tallahassee Police Department
officer responded and spoke with S.G. He told S.G. that she
had to comply with CHS's decision about the shelter. When
S.G. continued insisting that she wouldn't go to that
shelter, the officer told her that her other option was being
taken into custody and to the juvenile assessment center
(JAC). S.G. responded that she'd rather go to the JAC.
And so, she was taken into custody without protest.
State proceeded to charge S.G. with resisting an officer
without violence. In the course of the subsequent trial,
after the State presented its case, S.G. sought a judgment of
dismissal, questioning the legal sufficiency of the evidence.
But the trial court denied her motion. She was found guilty
of the charges and now has appealed.
motion for judgment of dismissal in juvenile proceedings,
like a motion for judgment of acquittal in criminal
proceedings, presents the question of whether the evidence is
legally sufficient to support the charge. See D.S. v.
State, 106 So.3d 991, 993 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013). The
granting of a motion for judgment of dismissal is warranted
only if "the evidence is insufficient to establish a
prima facie case of guilt against the child." Fla. R.
Juv. P. 8.110(k). A defendant moving for a judgment of
dismissal "admits not only the facts stated in the
evidence adduced, but also admits every conclusion favorable
to the adverse party that a [trier of fact] might fairly and
reasonably infer from the evidence." D.S., 106
So.3d at 993 (quoting Lynch v. State, 293 So.2d 44,
45 (Fla. 1974)). We review orders denying such motions de
found guilty of resisting an officer without violence under
§ 843.02, Florida Statutes (2017), the State must prove
that "(1) the officer was engaged in the lawful
execution of a legal duty; and (2) the defendant's
action, by his words, conduct, or a combination thereof,
constituted obstruction or resistance of that lawful
duty." C.E.L. v. State, 24 So.3d 1181, 1185-86
(Fla. 2009). Legal duties include things like serving
process, legally detaining a person, or asking for assistance
in an emergency situation. See, e.g., C.W. v.
State, 76 So.3d 1093, 1095 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011). Courts in
Florida have drawn a distinction in similar cases
"between an officer who is engaging in the lawful
execution of a legal duty, and a police officer who is merely
on the job." Id.; Jay v. State, 731
So.2d 774, 775 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999). To prove the crime, the
officer must be lawfully executing a "legal duty."
§ 843.02, Fla. Stat.
case, the State asserts that the officer's legal duty
arose from § 985.101(1)(d). This statute provides that a
child may be taken into custody by law enforcement when the
officer has "probable cause to believe that the child is
in violation of the conditions of the child's probation,
nonsecure detention, postcommitment probation, or conditional
release supervision; has absconded from nonresidential
commitment; or has escaped from residential commitment."
Id. Given the evidence that S.G. was subject to a
detention order requiring her to remain with CHS personnel at
all times, the officer exercised proper ...