Doe v. State

Decision Date28 February 1992
Docket NumberNo. 91-1170,91-1170
Citation595 So.2d 212
Parties17 Fla. L. Weekly D585 John DOE, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Larry Klein and Randy Ellison of Klein & Walsh, P.A., West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, and Anthony J. Golden, Asst. Atty. Gen., Daytona Beach, for appellee.


Appellant John Doe appeals the trial court's order vacating a final order expunging his criminal record. We reverse.

In 1976 appellant was convicted as an accessory to robbery. In 1986, after completing the term of his sentence, appellant was granted a full and unconditional pardon for this offense.

In 1990 appellant filed a petition for declaratory relief seeking expunction or sealing of his criminal records and sealing of his civil file pursuant to the provisions of section 943.058 of the Florida Statutes (1989) and rule 3.692 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. Section 943.058(2)(b) provides:

943.058(2)(b) Criminal history record expunction or sealing.--

* * * * * *

(2) The courts of this state shall continue to have jurisdiction over their own procedures, including the keeping, sealing, expunction, or correction of judicial records containing criminal history information. The courts may order the sealing or expunction of any other criminal history record, provided:

* * * * * *

(b) The person who is the subject of the record has not been adjudicated guilty of any of the charges stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the records expunction petition pertains.... (emphasis added)

The petition was accompanied by an affidavit which sets forth the fact of appellant's conviction, his full and unconditional pardon, and that he had never before secured an expunction or sealing of his criminal records. The state offered no objection to the petition and the trial court entered an order expunging the records.

The state subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration, requesting the trial court to vacate the expunction order. In the motion the state claimed that expunction was not proper because appellant had been adjudicated guilty of the accessory offense. The trial court granted the state's motion for reconsideration and vacated the expunction order, ruling that, as a matter of law, section 943.058(2)(b) precludes appellant from being eligible for a records expunction because he was adjudicated guilty of being an accessory to robbery. The court ruled that the fact that appellant has received a full and unconditional pardon for this crime does not remove the adjudication of guilt. This ruling was error.

The supreme court has ruled that a pardon reaches both the punishment prescribed for the offense and the guilt of the offender. When the pardon is full, it remits the punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eyes of the law the offender is as innocent as if he never committed the offense. Advisory Opinion to the Governor, 14 Fla. 318 (1872), citing Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall. 333, 71 U.S. 333, 18 L.Ed. 366 (1866). A pardon not only blots out the crime committed, but removes all disabilities resulting from conviction and gives to an individual in whose favor it is granted a new character, and makes of him or her a new person. Singleton v. State, 38 Fla. 297, 21 So. 21 (1896). A full and unconditional pardon removes all that is left of the consequences of conviction. Fields v. State, 85 So.2d 609 (Fla.1956). See also Marsh v. Garwood, 65 So.2d 15 (Fla.1953).

Because a full and unconditional pardon legally blots out the finding of guilt, the pardon removes all the attendant legal consequences which flow from an adjudication of guilt. The pardonee is no longer legally considered "convicted" or "adjudicated guilty" of that crime. Therefore, the trial court erred in finding appellant ineligible for a records expunction due to his conviction for being an accessory to robbery.

As noted above, the state argued in its motion for reconsideration that a full and unconditional pardon does not remove the adjudication itself but only removes the disabilities which flow from such an adjudication. We reject this argument because it fails to recognize the expansive effect of a full and unconditional pardon. If we were to construe the statute as requiring the result urged by the state, this would create a head-on confrontation between the power of the legislature to enact laws regarding convicted felons and the power of the executive to pardon convicted felons. Contrary to the state's position, we find that this statute should not be...

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6 cases
  • RJL v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 18 November 2004 R.J.L. v. State, 818 So.2d 635 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002) , which expressly and directly conflicts with the decision in Doe v. State, 595 So.2d 212 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992). We originally accepted jurisdiction to review the decision of Randall v. Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 791 So.2......
  • Blake v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • 24 January 2007 depth with the goal of resolving a conflict in its state's case law. First, the R.J.L. court laid out the holding in Doe v. State, 595 So.2d 212 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992), where its Fifth District Court of Appeal concluded that a pardon enables the pardonee to have his criminal history records......
  • Randall v. Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 21 August 2001
    ...of eligibility. In his mandamus petition, Randall recited the foregoing facts. He then cited the decision in Doe v. State, 595 So.2d 212, 213 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992), for the proposition that "[w]hen the pardon is full, it remits the punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in t......
  • People v. Thon
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 30 March 2001
    ...One theory holds that a pardon relieves the punishment for the offense and erases the guilt of the offender. See, e.g., Doe v. State, 595 So.2d 212, 213 (Fla.App.1992); State v. Bergman, 558 N.E.2d 1111, 1113-14 (Ind.App.1990); Commonwealth v. C.S., 517 Pa. 89, 92, 534 A.2d 1053, 1054 (1987......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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