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Garcia v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

June 26, 2019

Miguel Garcia, Appellant,
v.
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, Lourdes Simon, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 18-14732

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

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, and Asad Ali, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Before SALTER, HENDON and GORDO, JJ.

          SALTER, J.

          Miguel Garcia appeals from judgments of conviction and sentence entered by the circuit court. The single issue presented is whether Garcia violated an injunction for protection against stalking. See §§ 784.0485, 784.0487(4), Fla. Stat. (2018). Garcia contends (a) he could not be convicted based on the initially-entered temporary ex parte injunction, because his alleged violation occurred after the temporary injunction had expired, and (b) he could not be convicted based on a permanent injunction entered after a notice and hearing, because he had not attended that hearing and had not been served with a copy of the permanent injunction issued by the trial court at that hearing.

         The Timeline

         The victim obtained a temporary, ex parte injunction for protection against stalking against Garcia on June 12, 2018. Garcia was duly served with a copy of the temporary injunction the same day. The caption of the temporary injunction stated that it "EXPIRES: July 5th 2018 OR UNTIL THE FINAL JUDGMENT OF INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION IF ENTERED IS SERVED ON RESPONDENT [Garcia]."

         The temporary injunction set a hearing on July 5, 2018, for consideration of whether a final judgment of protection against stalking should be entered. The temporary injunction instructed the victim and Garcia that "they are scheduled to appear and testify" at the hearing and that if either or both did not appear, "this temporary injunction may be continued in force, extended, or dismissed, and/or additional orders may be granted."

         On July 5, 2018, the victim appeared, but Garcia did not. A permanent injunction was entered against Garcia, but Garcia was not separately served with a copy of the final injunction until August 13, 2018. In the interim, on July 21, Garcia stepped onto the porch of the victim's home, was recorded on a security video camera at the home as he tried to open the (locked) front door, and was subsequently arrested for a violation of the injunction.

         Trial and Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal

         At trial, the State entered into evidence the temporary injunction, duly served on Garcia on June 12, 2018, and established the fact of Garcia's uninvited proximity to the victim and her residence on July 21st. The defense moved for a judgment of acquittal based on the alleged expiration of the temporary injunction and the fact that the final injunction had not been served upon Garcia at the time of the July 21st incident. The defense relied on Suggs v. State, 795 So.2d 1028 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001), and Livingston v. State, 847 So.2d 1131 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), in support of the motion.

          The trial court denied the defense motion. The jury returned a verdict of guilt on the charge, [1] the defense renewed its motion for a judgment of acquittal, and the trial court again denied the motion. Garcia was sentenced to 364 days in jail for the ...


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