Barnes v. State

Decision Date27 February 2013
Docket NumberNo. 1D12–1462.,1D12–1462.
Citation108 So.3d 700
PartiesAlvin Bernard BARNES, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender; and Richelle M. Marsico, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General; and Heather Flanagan Ross, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

PER CURIAM.

Alvin Barnes appeals his conviction and sentence for failure to register as a sexual offender. Barnes argues that section 943.0435, Florida Statutes (2011), violated his right to procedural due process and the trial court erred in denying his as-applied constitutional challenge. Barnes also asserts error based on the court's failure to give a requested special instruction on Barnes' sole defense and the court's admitting a certain documentary letter into evidence. We affirm without further discussion the rulings relating to the constitutional challenge and the evidentiary issue. We reverse and remand for a new trial, however, based on the failure to give the special instruction.

Facts

Barnes is a sexual offender. The State charged him with knowingly failing to report a change of his temporary or permanent address, within forty-eight hours, to an office of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, or the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), a violation of section 943.0435(4), Florida Statutes. Barnes testified as follows. After successfully registering with the sheriff's office and FDLE on September 9, 2011, he received a sexual offender registration packet and went in person to the DHSMV on that same day to attempt to register his change of address and obtain an I.D. card. Because Barnes had only his sexual offender registration packet and a handwritten note from his mother, and could not provide documentation acceptable to the DHSMV to verify his new address, the examiner at the DHSMV turned him away. The examiner did not provide Barnes with written verification that he had appeared and tried to comply with the statutory registration requirements.

The State presented evidence that the DHSMV had a standard procedure for processing sexual offenders who cannot afford to pay the registration fee or who fail to produce adequate documentation. Under this procedure, the offender would receive verification of his appearance and attempt to register. Some months after the DHSMV turned Barnes away, a policeman stopped Barnes, who gave his current address. When the officer ran this address through the law enforcement database, he discovered a discrepancy with Barnes' last reported address. This led to his arrest and the charge.

During the charge conference at trial, defense counsel requested a special jury instruction based on the theory of defense that Barnes timely appeared at the DHSMV with his FDLE registration packet and a hand-written letter stating his address, but was turned away twice. Counsel asked the trial court to inform the jury that, if it believed the State had misinformed Barnes or otherwise prevented him from timely registering at the DHSMV, then Barnes would have an affirmative defense to the charge. The prosecutor objected to the proposed special instruction, and the court refused to give the instruction. During the general discussion of the request for a special instruction, the court appeared to weigh certain evidence that Barnes knew from prior experience how to obtain verification of the attempt itself, even if he was unsuccessful in registering a change of information at the DHSMV.

The court gave the standard instruction which, in pertinent part, allowed the jury to find Barnes, a sexual offender, guilty if he “knowingly failed to report” in person to the DHSMV within forty-eight hours after registering with the sheriff's office and the FDLE and “knowingly failed to secure” an I.D. card. See Fla. Standard Jury Instructions in Crim. Cases 11.14(d); In re Standard Jury Instructions in Crim. Cases—Report No. 2007–4, 983 So.2d 531, 536–37 (Fla.2008). Defense counsel renewed the objection to the failure to give the special instruction.

At the beginning of closing argument, the State asserted that Appellant had knowledge of the reporting requirements but did not update his address with the DHSMV. The prosecutor argued: “Because of that, he is guilty as charged.” The State emphasized the result—Appellant's failure to get an updated I.D. card from the DHSMV—and asserted that his noncompliance resulted because he just didn't care.” The jury found Barnes guilty as charged.

Analysis

The general rule is that a criminal defendant is entitled, upon request and by law, to a jury instruction on the law pertaining to the theory of defense if any evidence supports the theory, irrespective of how weak this evidence is. See Quick v. State, 46 So.3d 1159, 1160 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010); Chavers v. State, 901 So.2d 409, 410–11 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005). In deciding whether to give a requested instruction, the trial court cannot weigh the evidence; it is enough if any evidence supports the defense. Terwilliger v. State, 535 So.2d 346, 347 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988). Contending that the standard instruction was...

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8 cases
  • In re Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases—Report 2017-12
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 12 Julio 2018
    ...be provided in lieu of a physical residential address.Give if the defendant meets his or her burden of production. See Barnes v. State, 108 So.3d 700 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).It is a defense to the crime of Failure by a Sexual Offender to Comply with Registration Requirements that (defendant) at......
  • In re Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases—Report NO. 2013–06.
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 28 Agosto 2014
    ...be provided in lieu of a physical residential address.Give if the defendant meets his or her burden of production. See Barnes v. State, 108 So.3d 700 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).It is a defense to the crime of Failure by a Sexual Offender to Comply with Registration Requirements that (defendant) at......
  • In re Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases—Report No. 2015–05
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 7 Abril 2016
    ...be provided in lieu of a physical residential address.Give if the defendant meets his or her burden of production. See Barnes v. State, 108 So.3d 700 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).It is a defense to the crime of Failure by a Sexual Offender to Comply with Registration Requirements that (defendant) at......
  • Reed v. State
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 11 Diciembre 2019
    ...to the theory of defense if any evidence supports the theory, irrespective of how weak this evidence is." Barnes v. State , 108 So. 3d 700, 702 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013)."In order for the defense of heat of passion to be available there must be ‘adequate provocation ... as might obscure the reaso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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