The Florida Supreme Court in Marrero v. State of Florida said the prosecution did not prove the amount of damage was over $1,000, which was required to convict the defendant of third degree felony Criminal Mischief for driving his truck into the entrance of a casino. The jury cannot simply look at the damage and decide from their “life experience” that the damage is greater than $1,000.
The Supreme Court said that a Second District Court of Appeal case, Jackson v. State, 413 So.2d 112, 114 (Fla. 2d DCA 1982) that allowed the jury to consider the evidence of value in a theft case based on “life experience” was overly broad as was the Third District Court of Appeals’ ruling in Mr. Marrero’s case. The Florida Supreme Court said allowing the jury to consider value or damage, without any specific evidence about what it would really cost to repair or replace, violated the Defendant’s due process rights. In this case, the State failed to prove the value of the repairs or how much it would cost to make the repairs. Therefore, the Defendant could not be convicted of the felony charge of Criminal Mischief. The Supreme Court said the State’s introduction of a video showing the Defendant driving a pickup truck through the entrance of the Miccosukkee Casino entrance and causing the doors to be damaged was not enough to prove that the damage was more than $1,000.
Mr. Morrero could still be convicted of a second degree misdemeanor because it was clear he caused some damage, but the State of Florida had not proven that the value of that damage was over $1,000. You can read the full opinion at this link: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2011/sc09-2390.pdf
Please remember this blog does not constitute legal advice; please see call me at 813.251.8200 if you or a family member has been arrested for Criminal Mischief. You can also email me questions at Jeremiah@Jeremiahdallen.com.