96 So.3d 1080 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 2012), 3D11-1842, S.L. v. State

Docket Nº3D11-1842, 3D11-988.
Citation96 So.3d 1080, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D 2119
Opinion JudgeSHEPHERD, J.
Party NameS.L., a juvenile, Appellant, v. The STATE of Florida, Appellee.
AttorneyCarlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Billie Jan Goldstein, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant. Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Nicholas Merlin, Assistant Attorney General, and Joshua Roth, Certified Legal Intern, for appellee.
Judge PanelBefore SHEPHERD and CORTI
Case DateSeptember 05, 2012
CourtFlorida Court of Appeals, Third District

Page 1080

96 So.3d 1080 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 2012)

37 Fla. L. Weekly D 2119

S.L., a juvenile, Appellant,

v.

The STATE of Florida, Appellee.

Nos. 3D11-1842, 3D11-988.

Florida Court of Appeal, Third District.

September 5, 2012

Page 1081

Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Billie Jan Goldstein, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Nicholas Merlin, Assistant Attorney General, and Joshua Roth, Certified Legal Intern, for appellee.

Before SHEPHERD and CORTIÑ AS, JJ., and SCHWARTZ, Senior Judge.

Page 1082

SHEPHERD, J.

S.L. appeals an adjudication of guilt for interfering with the administration and functions of an educational institution in violation of section 877.13(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2010), and resisting arrest without violence in violation of section 843.02, Florida Statutes (2010). We conclude the trial court erred in adjudicating S.L. on the interference charge, but affirm on the charge of resisting arrest.1

On September 22, 2010, the day of the incident in this case, S.L. was a thirteen-year-old middle school student in attendance at the Robert Renick Educational Center, a school for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children in grades K-12. At about noon on that date, S.L. and his class were proceeding toward the school cafeteria when S.L. caught sight of Renick Educational Center Dean of Discipline, David Jefferson, and Miami-Dade Public Schools Officer Dadd at the opposite end of the same hallway. S.L., " out of nowhere," began calling out insults, obscenities and making rude gestures toward Officer Dadd. Dean Jefferson and Officer Dadd were about twenty yards from S.L. when S.L. commenced his outbursts.2

Dean Jefferson suggested to Officer Dadd they keep walking, but Officer Dadd wished to speak with S.L., so the two took S.L. to an area " out by the teacher's lounge," where no other students were present. After it became apparent Officer Dadd " wasn't getting anywhere," Officer Dadd decided to let S.L. return to the cafeteria. As Dean Jefferson escorted S.L. to the cafeteria entrance, S.L. turned and hurled one last insult at Officer Dadd. Officer Dadd ordered S.L. to come back, but S.L. " took off." At that point, a school security guard escorted S.L. from the cafeteria and S.L. was taken into an office by Dean Jefferson and Officer Dadd, because, again, Officer Dadd " didn't want the kids to see this."

In the office, S.L. continued to be uncooperative and aggressive, saying, " I hate police officers ... I can't stand you guys." Officer Dadd handcuffed S.L. and began to fill out paperwork to arrest him for " disruption of school function." Officer Armando Calzadilla was called to transport S.L. from the school to the Juvenile Assessment Center. When Officer Calzadilla arrived at the school, S.L. was sitting handcuffed in a chair. S.L. continued to curse and yell, at one point attempted to stand up, and refused to sit back down when so ordered.

Based on S.L.'s continued unruliness, Officer Calzadilla and Officer Dadd decided to take S.L. to Officer Calzadilla's police car to detain S.L. so Officer Dadd could return and complete his arrest paperwork. En route, S.L. began kicking at Officers Dadd and Calzadilla, and pulling his hands away from them in an attempt to escape. Although the officers were able to place S.L. in the vehicle, S.L. continued kicking and spitting, and banged his head against the windows of the vehicle as well. The two officers, along with a third who had just arrived, pulled S.L. out of the car again to tie his feet together to " keep his feet from moving around the vehicle." According to Officer Calzadilla, once back inside the police vehicle, S.L. stated, " I want to kill myself." At this point, the

Page 1083

officers decided to take S.L. to the Citrus Crisis Center " for his welfare," rather than to the Juvenile Assessment Center as originally planned. S.L. was Baker Acted at that facility.3

On November 1, 2010, after a non-jury trial, S.L. was adjudicated guilty of knowingly disrupting or interfering with the administration or functions of an educational institution under section 877.13(1)(a), and resisting arrest without violence in violation of section 806.13(1)(b). At a disposition hearing held on March 14, 2011, the trial court also found S.L. had violated the terms of his probation in four other cases, see supra note 1, because he had violated curfew, been suspended from school, and picked up the new convictions. S.L. was committed to a moderate-risk juvenile facility.

S.L.'s first point on appeal is that the trial court erred in denying his motions for judgment of dismissal, on the ground the evidence presented by the State was insufficient to support the crime of interfering with the administration or functions of an educational institution. In reviewing a trial court's motion for judgment of dismissal, a de novo standard of review applies. P.N. v. State, 976 So.2d 90, 91 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008). While the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the State, if the State fails to present sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of the crime charged, then a judgment of dismissal is proper. Id.

Section 877.13(1)(a) states: " (1) It is unlawful for any person: (a) Knowingly to disrupt or interfere with the lawful administration or functions of any educational institution." We previously have addressed the elements of the crime of " knowingly disrupting or interfering with the administration or functions of an educational institution" in M.C. v. State, 695 So.2d 477 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997).4 Although M.C. involved a facial challenge to section 877.13 on the grounds it violated M.C.'s right to freedom of speech and was overbroad and vague, M.C. provides a useful framework for reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence in this case.

In M.C., M.C. stormed into the main office of a Miami-Dade County middle school, where both she and her brother were students, waving her hands and hurling insults at a school police officer in a loud and threatening manner for arresting her brother moments earlier. A group of five to seven other students followed M.C. into the office and joined the protest. The main office of the school contained the principal's office. As a result of M.C.'s actions and loud verbal outbursts, the duties and functions of those in the office temporarily were brought to a halt. Id. at 479. We affirmed M.C.'s adjudication under section 877.13(1)(a). We concluded section 877.13 suffered from none of the constitutional maladies alleged, noting that culpable intent is a necessary element of the offense. We explained:

The obvious intent of section 877.13 is to ensure that the educational institutions

Page 1084

and their administrators are free to perform their lawful functions without undue or unwarranted interference or disruption from others. We note early on that this statute does not seek to proscribe or regulate the content of any particular speech; rather it seeks to regulate expressive activity or conduct which significantly interferes with lawful educational functions.

Id. at 480 (emphasis added). The " intended purpose" of the statute, we concluded, " is to prevent only that expression or conduct which materially disrupts or interferes with normal school functions or activities." Id. at 481 (emphasis added); see also A.M.P. v. State, 927 So.2d 97, 100 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006) (recognizing section 877.13 prohibits conduct " specifically and intentionally designed to stop or impede the progress of any normal school function or activity occurring on the school's property."...

To continue reading

Request your trial