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Hudson v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

August 14, 2019

Quintae Davouris Hudson, Appellant,
v.
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. James Daniel, Judge.

          Andy Thomas, Public Defender, and Maria Ines Suber, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, and Anne C. Conley, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          PER CURIAM.

         While Appellant, Quintae Davouris Hudson, was in jail awaiting trial on a charge of shooting or throwing a deadly missile into a vehicle, an eyewitness to the crime gave deposition testimony identifying Hudson as the perpetrator. After the deposition, but before trial, the eyewitness was shot and killed.

         The State subsequently charged Hudson with first degree murder as a principal, conspiracy to commit first degree murder, four counts of witness tampering, and directing the activities of a criminal gang, all in addition to the original charge of shooting or throwing a deadly missile into a vehicle. The jury convicted Hudson as charged, less one count of witness tampering that was dismissed by the State, and the court sentenced him accordingly.

          Hudson now challenges his convictions, raising four issues. The first concerns the trial court's denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal on the first degree murder charge on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to establish that he aided and abetted the actual perpetrator of the crime. The remaining issues address the trial court's rejection of Hudson's hearsay objections to certain witness statements. We affirm as to the hearsay issues without additional comment. For the reasons explained below, we also affirm the conviction.

         I.

         The investigation into the victim's murder revealed the significance of his testimony in the underlying missile-throwing case against Hudson. The State's theory of the case on the murder charge was that Hudson arranged for the victim's death by soliciting and assisting his fellow gang members to prevent the victim from testifying. The State established this through jailhouse phone recordings and recording transcripts (the source of the hearsay objections), phone records, and testimony from two of Hudson's girlfriends and other witnesses (including investigators and law enforcement gang experts).

         At the close of the State's case, Hudson moved for a judgment of acquittal "based on the State's failure to prove a prima facie case" as to all counts, and at the trial's end, Hudson renewed the motion, stating "I would renew my motion for judgment of acquittal" arguing that the State "has failed to prove . . . all of the elements contained in each of the counts charged." The trial court denied both motions.

         II.

         In this appeal, Hudson for the first time argues he was entitled to a judgment of acquittal because the State's circumstantial evidence fell short of proving its theory of the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that his conviction as a principal must therefore be reversed because a person cannot be convicted of aiding and abetting an unknown perpetrator of a crime. Hudson also argues (again for the first time) that a conviction for a crime totally unsupported by evidence constitutes fundamental error. Hudson asserts further that the State failed to prove who actually killed the victim, or that the victim was in contact with the shooter, much less that Hudson assisted in committing the crime.

         Appellate courts review a trial court's denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal de novo. Rasley v. State, 878 So.2d 473, 476 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004). "[I]n moving for a judgment of acquittal, a defendant admits not only the facts stated in the evidence, but also every reasonable conclusion favorable to the state that the trier of fact might fairly infer ...


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