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 Duval County. Linda F.
Thomas, Public Defender, and Victor Holder, Assistant Public
Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, and Julian E. Markham, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
challenges his convictions and sentences for one count of
second degree murder and seven counts of attempted second
degree murder claiming that the jury verdict was a true
inconsistent verdict. See Brown v. State, 959 So.2d 218
(Fla. 2007) (explaining that a true inconsistent verdict
occurs where the finding of not guilty on one count negates
an element necessary for conviction on another count). We
hold that although the jury verdict was factually
inconsistent, it does not amount to a true inconsistent
verdict and therefore affirm.
was charged with a drive-by shooting based on his firing
multiple shots from a handgun out of the passenger window of
an automobile at a group assembled outside a convenience
store. As a result of the shooting Keshawn Rankin was killed,
and another victim was injured. At trial, the driver of the
automobile and the other two passengers all testified that
Appellant fired at the group from the automobile.
Appellant's defense was that one of the other passengers
was responsible for the shooting. Other than testimony
regarding Appellant firing the handgun, there was no
testimony of Appellant committing any other "act
imminently dangerous to another, and evincing a depraved
mind" so as to support second degree murder or attempted
second degree murder. See §§ 782.04(2)
& 777.04, Fla. Stat. (2016). There was also no testimony
to support Appellant's guilt as a principal to the crimes
rather than the actual perpetrator, and the jury was not
instructed that Appellant could be found guilty as a
principal. See § 777.011, Fla. Stat. (2016).
jury found the Appellant guilty of the second degree murder
of Mr. Rankin and of attempted second degree murder of the
seven other victims. The jury was given a detailed verdict
form and asked to find on each of these counts whether
Appellant discharged or possessed a firearm during the
commission of the offenses. For the murder and the attempted
murder counts the jury found that Appellant "did not
actually possess a firearm during the commission of the
the jury returned the verdict, Appellant filed a motion for
arrest of judgment and for a judgment of acquittal claiming a
true inconsistent verdict. The trial court denied the
motions. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment for the
murder of Mr. Rankin and 30 years for each of the seven
counts of attempted second degree murder to run concurrent to
the murder count. On appeal, Appellant argues the trial court
committed error by not granting the motions claiming a true
the verdict was factually inconsistent because the jury had
no evidence to support a finding of guilt against Appellant
unless Appellant possessed and discharged a handgun at the
assembled group. However, as the Florida Supreme Court has
stated, a true inconsistent verdict requires more than just
factual or logical inconsistency:
As a general rule, inconsistent jury verdicts are permitted
in Florida. Eaton v. State, 438 So.2d 822 (Fla.
1983); Goodwin v. State, 157 Fla. 751, 26 So.2d 898
(1946); Gonzalez v. State, 440 So.2d 514 (Fla. 4th
DCA), review dismissed, 444 So.2d 417 (Fla. 1983).
Inconsistent verdicts are allowed because jury verdicts can
be the result of lenity and therefore do not always speak to
the guilt or innocence of the defendant. See Eaton,
438 So.2d at 823. Moreover, defendants have adequate
procedural and constitutional protections to ensure that
their convictions are not erroneous, whereas the State does
not have the benefit of any reciprocal protections. Cf.
Potts v. State, 430 So.2d 900 (Fla. 1982) (relied on
similar reasoning to hold that defendant tried separately
from co-conspirator is not entitled to raise conviction of
co-conspirator for a lesser offense as a bar to
defendant's conviction for a greater offense).
This Court has recognized only one exception to the general
rule allowing inconsistent verdicts. This exception, referred
to as the "true" inconsistent verdict exception,
comes into play when verdicts against one defendant on
legally interlocking charges are truly inconsistent. As
Justice Anstead explained when writing for the Fourth
District Court of Appeal in Gonzalez, true
inconsistent verdicts are "those in which an acquittal
on one count negates a necessary element for conviction on
another count." 440 So.2d at 515. For example, this
Court has required consistent verdicts when
the underlying felony was a part of the crime charged-without
the underlying felony the charge could not stand. The jury
is, in all cases, required to return consistent verdicts as
to the guilt of an individual on interlocking charges.
Eaton, 438 So.2d at 823; see Mahaun v.
State, 377 So.2d 1158 (Fla. 1979) (verdict of guilty as
to felony-murder set aside where jury failed to find
defendant guilty of the underlying felony); Redondo v.
State, 403 So.2d 954 (Fla. 1981) (defendant could not be
convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm during a
commission of felony where the jury failed to find the
defendant guilty of any felony). An exception to the general
rule is warranted when the verdicts against a single
defendant are truly inconsistent ...