Chesebrough v. State, No. 41254

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtADKINS; ROBERTS; ERVIN; ERVIN
Citation255 So.2d 675
PartiesRebecca M. CHESEBROUGH, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 41254
Decision Date08 December 1971

Page 675

255 So.2d 675
Rebecca M. CHESEBROUGH, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
No. 41254.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Dec. 8, 1971.

Page 676

Robert E. Jagger, Public Defender and William F. Casler, Asst. Public Defender, for appellant.

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., and P. A. Pacyna, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

ADKINS, Justice.

This is an appeal from the Circuit Court of Pinellas County, having been transferred to this Court from the District Court of Appeal, Second District. Defendant was charged with knowingly committing a lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a male child under the age of fourteen years by willfully and knowingly committing the act of sexual intercourse in the presence of the said minor child. The statute involved is Fla.Stat. § 800.04, F.S.A., which reads as follows:

'Any person who shall handle, fondle or make an assault upon any male or female child under the age of fourteen years in a lewd, lascivious or indecent manner, or Who shall knowingly commit any lewd or lascivious act in the presence of such child, without intent to commit rape where such child is female, shall be deemed guilty of a felony and punished by imprisonment in the state prison or county jail for not more than ten years.' (Emphasis supplied.)

Defendant entered a plea of not guilty and filed a motion to suppress a written statement made by the defendant while in custody. After hearing testimony, the Court denied the motion to suppress. When the case was called for hearing, the attorney for defendant announced that he had requested a nonjury trial but, because the State would not stipulate to such a trial, the defendant desired to enter a plea of nolo contendere. After examining the defendant as to its voluntariness, the Court accepted the plea. An officer testified as to statements made by the defendant to the effect that, upon inquiry by her son (who was under fourteen years of age) as to how babies are made, she and her husband (stepfather of the child) showed him 'in the bedroom.' The Court found the defendant guilty as charged. She was sentenced to serve a term of from six months to eighteen months in the state prison. A notice of appeal filed with the District Court of Appeal, Second District, was transferred to this Court because the trial court passed directly on the constitutionality of Fla.Stat. § 800.04, F.S.A., quoted above.

The plea of nolo contendere was a formal declaration by defendant that she did not contest the charge against her. Such a plea has the same effect as a plea of guilty, so far as regards the proceeding on the information, and a defendant who is sentenced to imprisonment upon such a plea is convicted of the offense charged. While a plea of guilty is a confession of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere does not estop the

Page 677

defendant to plead and prove innocence in a civil suit. See 6 F.L.P., Criminal Law, § 305; State v. Febre, 156 Fla. 149, 23 So.2d 270 (1945).

A plea of nolo contendere admits all the facts which are well pleaded and waives all formal defects in the proceeding of which the accused could have availed himself by a plea of not guilty or motion to quash. See Peel v. State, 150 So.2d 281 (Fla.App.2d, 1963). The plea in the case Sub judice was not conditioned on reservation of a question of law as was permitted in State v. Ashby, 245 So.2d 225 (Fla.1971). Therefore, the defendant may not question the validity of the order of the trial judge denying the motion to suppress.

During the course of the hearing on the plea of nolo contendere, the trial judge received and considered as evidence the defendant's statement of fellatio contacts which she witnessed between her son and the stepfather-husband and also photographs shown to the son of herself and others in the nude and in sexual activities. Defendant says the admissibility of this evidence was reversible error because such evidence was offered to show possible bad character of the defendant when such character was not at issue. This objection would be worthy of consideration if the matter had been submitted to a jury on the issue of guilt or innocence. On a plea of nolo contendere, such evidence as to character becomes material in determining sentence. It was, therefore, admissible and properly considered by the trial judge.

There are only two questions which may be considered by this Court in the case Sub judice: First, is Fla.Stat. § 800.04, F.S.A., constitutional, and secondly, were the acts performed by the defendant a violation of the statute?

Defendant says the statute violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Rights of the State of Florida, because a 'lewd and lascivious act' is not defined by the terms of statute. Therefore, it is void for vagueness. She relies upon the fundamental principle that no citizen...

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90 practice notes
  • City of Seattle v. Buchanan, No. 44199
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 28 Septiembre 1978
    .... . .' " State v. Jones, 2 Conn.Cir. 698, 700, 205 A.2d 507, 509 (1964); Martin v. State, 534 P.2d 685 (Okl.1975); Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675 (Fla.1971). See generally 25 Words and Phrases, "Lewd" (1961). The uncontroverted facts of this case, which are set forth at length in the m......
  • State v. Meyer
    • United States
    • Oregon Court of Appeals
    • 19 Mayo 1993
    ...v. Trombley, 3 Conn.Cir. 28, 206 A.2d 482, 484 (1964); State v. Jones, 2 Conn.Cir. 698, 205 A.2d 507, 509 (1964); Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675, 677-78 (Fla.1971); Buchanan v. State, 111 So.2d 51, 57 (Fla.1959); State v. Brenner, 132 N.J.L. 607, 609, 41 A.2d 532, 534 (1945). Recourse ......
  • Rhodes v. State, No. 41416
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Septiembre 1973
    ...'an unlawful indulgence in lust; eager for sexual indulgence; open and public indecency' offensive to others. Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675 (Fla.1971), cert. den. 406 U.S. 976, 92 S.Ct. 2427, 32 L.Ed.2d 676, catalogues the earlier cases, although it was not decided until December 8, 1......
  • State v. Mayhew, No. 43575
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Diciembre 1973
    ...Witherspoon v. State of Florida; Little v. State of Florida, 278 So.2d 611 (Fla.1973), we reaffirmed our holding in Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675 (Fla.1971), and held that the words 'unnatural and lascivious' or 'lewd and lascivious' are of such a character that an ordinary citizen ca......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
90 cases
  • City of Seattle v. Buchanan, No. 44199
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 28 Septiembre 1978
    .... . .' " State v. Jones, 2 Conn.Cir. 698, 700, 205 A.2d 507, 509 (1964); Martin v. State, 534 P.2d 685 (Okl.1975); Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675 (Fla.1971). See generally 25 Words and Phrases, "Lewd" (1961). The uncontroverted facts of this case, which are set forth at length in the m......
  • State v. Meyer
    • United States
    • Oregon Court of Appeals
    • 19 Mayo 1993
    ...v. Trombley, 3 Conn.Cir. 28, 206 A.2d 482, 484 (1964); State v. Jones, 2 Conn.Cir. 698, 205 A.2d 507, 509 (1964); Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675, 677-78 (Fla.1971); Buchanan v. State, 111 So.2d 51, 57 (Fla.1959); State v. Brenner, 132 N.J.L. 607, 609, 41 A.2d 532, 534 (1945). Recourse ......
  • Rhodes v. State, No. 41416
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Septiembre 1973
    ...'an unlawful indulgence in lust; eager for sexual indulgence; open and public indecency' offensive to others. Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675 (Fla.1971), cert. den. 406 U.S. 976, 92 S.Ct. 2427, 32 L.Ed.2d 676, catalogues the earlier cases, although it was not decided until December 8, 1......
  • State v. Mayhew, No. 43575
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Diciembre 1973
    ...Witherspoon v. State of Florida; Little v. State of Florida, 278 So.2d 611 (Fla.1973), we reaffirmed our holding in Chesebrough v. State, 255 So.2d 675 (Fla.1971), and held that the words 'unnatural and lascivious' or 'lewd and lascivious' are of such a character that an ordinary citizen ca......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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