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 Escambia County. Coleman
Lee Robinson, Judge.
Thomas, Public Defender, and Jasmine Russell, Assistant
Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, and David Welch, Assistant Attorney
General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
J.A.W. was adjudicated delinquent for telling a bad April
Fools' Day joke at school in violation of the "bomb
scare hoax" statute, § 790.163(1), Florida Statutes
(2018). He argues that the trial court should have granted
his motion for judgment of dismissal. We agree and reverse.
at J.A.W.'s school were swapping April Fools' jokes
in the classroom on April 1, 2019. According to the teacher,
"[s]ome [of the jokes] weren't the nicest things,
but it wasn't anything serious." That is, until
J.A.W.-a student with an almost perfect attendance record and
a 3.1 G.P.A.-chimed in with an ill-considered joke:
"I'm going to shoot up the classroom, April
hearing J.A.W.'s joke, the teacher escorted him out of
the classroom and to the dean's office. While the school
day continued normally for the other jokesters, things
changed drastically for J.A.W. In addition to receiving a
multi-day suspension from school, J.A.W. was reported to law
enforcement and the State instituted a delinquency
prosecution. The State's view of J.A.W.'s joke was
that it constituted a "false report" concerning the
violent use of firearms, intended to deceive, mislead, or
otherwise misinform a person, which is prohibited by §
790.163(1). At his subsequent adjudication proceeding, the
court denied J.A.W.'s motion for a judgment of dismissal.
It found him guilty as charged, adjudicated him delinquent,
and placed him on probation until his 19th birthday. J.A.W.
argues on appeal that we should reverse because §
790.163(1) doesn't criminalize the type of statement that
he made. Section 790.163(1) criminalizes bomb scare-type
hoaxes. D.B. v. State, 825 So.2d 1042, 1043 (Fla.
1st DCA 2002). It prohibits "any person to make a false
report, with intent to deceive, mislead, or otherwise
misinform any person, concerning the placing or planting of
any bomb . . . or concerning the use of firearms in
a violent manner against a person or persons." (Emphasis
case, the objectionable "false report" was an April
Fools' Day joke that "threatened" a future
shooting at school. We addressed a similar issue involving a
juvenile's threat of harm at a school in D.B. See
id. at 1042. And what we held in D.B. was that
threats of future violence do not violate § 790.163(1)
because they are not "false reports." Id.
at 1043-44. We said that while § 790.163(1) applies to
false reports about live threats, such as "when a person
knowingly makes a false report that a bomb or other deadly
explosive has been placed or planted," it does not apply
to threats of future action, for example, to "'blow
up' or 'burn down' [a] school at some time in the
future." Id. at 1042-43.
As a matter of plain English, there is a distinction between
a statement that "there is a bomb in the building"
and a statement, such as [the defendant's], that
'I'm going to blow up the building.'"
Id. at 1043 (quoting Moosavi v. State, 736
A.2d 285, 291-92 (Md. 1999)). See also J.L. v.
State, 993 So.2d 103 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008) (recognizing
that "a threat to plant a bomb in the distant future