The judge found that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to permit a guilty verdict. Specifically, the trial court noted that the prosecution failed to present evidence inconsistent with the Defense’s reasonable hypothesis of innocence. “Even though the circumstantial evidence is to suggest a probability of guilt, it is not thereby adequate to support a conviction if it is likewise consistent with a reasonable hypothesis of innocence,” Davis v. State, 90 So.2d 629 (Fla. 1956).
The State appealed the Judge’s ruling to the Second District Court of Appeal. The essence of the State’s argument was that the defense Motion for Judgment of Acquittal should not have been granted because the judge failed to consider facts that were never actually presented at trial and that never existed in reality.
The Defense appellate team led by attorney, Keith A. Peterson, argued that the judge’s decision must be predicated upon facts that were actually presented at trial, not those that populated the prosecutor’s fantasies. The defense argued that pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.380, the trial court properly considered the sufficiency of the evidence by considering the absence of state evidence inconsistent with the reasonable defense theory of innocence. Furthermore, the defense argued that in considering the sufficiency of the evidence subject to Rule 3.380, a finding in support of the defense Motion obviates the need for further analysis under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.600(a)(2).
The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed, per curiam, the trial court’s decision to overturn the jury verdict. The conviction was vacated and justice was served.
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