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Morris v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

August 1, 2018

Jonathan Morris, Petitioner,
v.
The State of Florida, Respondent.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          A case of original Jurisdiction -Prohibition Lower Tribunal No. 16-10192

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

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Natalia Costea and Magaly Rodriguez, Assistant Attorneys General, for respondent.

          Before SUAREZ, LAGOA and SALTER, JJ.

          SALTER, J.

          Jonathan Morris seeks a writ of prohibition to preclude the circuit court from trying him on a severed charge of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. The firearm charge was count 2 of an information which also charged Morris (in count 1) with second-degree murder with a firearm. Morris had moved for, and been granted, severance of Count 2. Following a jury trial on the murder charge, Count 1, Morris was acquitted.

         Morris now contends that the severed possession of a firearm charge involves an issue of fact necessarily determined in the murder trial, such that collateral estoppel and the constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy bar prosecution of the firearm charge. We conclude, however, that the petition must be denied on the basis of a recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Currier v. Virginia, 138 S.Ct. 2144 (2018) ("Currier").

         Proceedings in the Circuit Court

         The two charges against Morris have been described. The undisputed facts relating to the daylight occurrences on May 15, 2016, at a Miami residential apartment complex are:

• Lamonte Jacobs was shot eleven times in the courtyard of the apartment complex under a tree. Spent nine millimeter cartridges, with no detectable fingerprints, were found near Jacobs' body.
• Morris himself was wounded three times in the neck, back, and leg, but survived. After being shot exiting a hallway to the street, Morris was able to climb into a car and escape from the scene. Surveillance cameras yielded a videotape of a third man, allegedly Marquis Dunwoody, shooting Morris. Spent .40 caliber cartridges were found in the area where those shots were fired. The State's ballistics analyst testified that the bullets recovered at the scene were from two different firearms.
• The surveillance camera videotape also showed a fourth man with Dunwoody and using a cellphone when apart from Dunwoody at the time of the incident.

         The eyewitness testimony, however, provided disputed and contradictory testimony about the sequence of events and identity of the shooter under the tree where ...


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