final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Glenn D. Kelley, Judge; L.T. Case No.
F. Pleasanton of David F. Pleasanton, P.A., West Palm Beach,
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Matthew Steven
Ocksrider, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
Will Twigg, appeals his conviction and sentence for one count
of battery on an emergency medical care provider and one
count of battery following an altercation between Appellant
and staff members at a Veteran's Administration hospital
("VA"). On appeal, Appellant argues that: 1) the
State failed to prove that he committed the offense of
battery on an emergency medical care provider; and 2)
Appellant's trial counsel was ineffective on the face of
the record for failing to request a self-defense jury
instruction and failing to move for a judgment of acquittal
on the battery on an emergency medical care provider charge.
We agree with Appellant's arguments pertaining to the
battery on an emergency medical care provider count and
reverse that conviction. We affirm otherwise.
was involuntarily brought to the emergency department of the
VA pursuant to Florida's Baker Act after his
employer reported that Appellant was exhibiting erratic
behavior. Appellant was subsequently admitted to the VA's
inpatient psychiatric unit where, after learning that he was
not being released, Appellant became combative and spit on a
nurse and a VA law enforcement officer. Based on the
foregoing, the State charged Appellant with one count of
battery on an emergency medical care provider for spitting on
the nurse, one count of battery for spitting on the VA
officer, and one count of resisting an officer without
violence. Appellant pled not guilty and filed a notice of
intent to rely upon insanity as a defense.
matter proceeded to a jury trial where the State presented
evidence that the nurse victim was a Licensed Practical Nurse
("LPN") who, on the day in question, was working in
the VA's inpatient psychiatric unit. The State's
evidence also established that the psychiatric unit was a
secure lockdown unit which was separate and distinct from the
VA's other departments, including the emergency
department. At the conclusion of the State's case,
Appellant's counsel declined to move for a judgment of
acquittal ("JOA") on any of the charges. Instead,
counsel focused on an insanity defense, presenting evidence
from a psychiatrist who opined that Appellant was not able to
determine whether what he did was right or wrong when he spit
on the nurse and VA officer.
the evidence, the jury rejected Appellant's insanity
affirmative defense and found him guilty of battery on an
emergency medical care provider, guilty of battery, and
not-guilty of resisting an officer without violence. The
court adjudicated Appellant per the jury's verdict and
sentenced Appellant to time served followed by eighteen
months of probation.
Sufficiency of the Evidence Proving Battery on an Emergency
Medical Care Provider
contends that the State's evidence regarding the nurse
victim was insufficient to support a conviction for battery
on an emergency medical care provider. Appellant is correct.
784.03 of the Florida Statutes provides that the offense of
battery is a third degree misdemeanor and "occurs when a
person: 1. [a]ctually and intentionally touches or strikes
another person against the will of the other; or 2.
[i]ntentionally causes bodily harm to another person."
§ 784.03(1)(a)-(b), Fla. Stat. (2015). When a battery is
committed on certain persons, including "an emergency
medical care provider . . . while the . . . emergency medical
care provider . . . is engaged in the lawful performance of
his or her duties," section 784.07 of the Florida
Statutes reclassifies the offense "of battery, from a
misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third
degree." § 784.07(2), (2)(b), Fla. Stat. (2015).
on the foregoing, the elements of the offense of battery on
an emergency medical care provider are: (1) the defendant
intentionally touched or struck the victim or intentionally
caused bodily harm to the victim; (2) the victim was an
emergency medical care provider; (3) the defendant knew that
the victim was an emergency medical care provider; and (4)
the emergency medical care provider was engaged in the lawful
performance of his or her duties when the battery was
committed. Fla. Std. Jury Instr. (Crim.) 8.11; State v.
Granner, 661 So.2d 89, 90 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995).
Therefore, in order to prove that Appellant committed the
offense of battery on an ...