In re Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases—Report 2018-06

Citation260 So.3d 941 (Mem)
Decision Date20 December 2018
Docket NumberNo. SC18-1295,SC18-1295
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida

Judge F. Rand Wallis, Chair, Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, Daytona Beach, Florida; and Bart Schneider, Staff Liaison, Office of the State Courts Administrator, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner


The Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases (Committee) has submitted proposed changes to the standard jury instructions and asks that the Court authorize the amended standard instructions for publication and use. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 2(a), Fla. Const.

The Committee proposes amendments to four existing standard criminal jury instructions: 15.1 (Robbery); 15.2 (Carjacking); 15.3 (Home-Invasion Robbery); and 26.9 (Money Laundering). The proposals were published by the Committee in The Florida Bar News ; one comment was received from the Florida Public Defender Association (FPDA) concerning the proposed amendments to instructions 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3. The Committee made one of the changes proposed by the FPDA prior to filing its report with the Court, but declined to make the other proposed change. The proposals were not published by the Court after having been filed by the Committee.

Having considered the Committee's report and the FPDA comment, we amend the standard jury instructions as proposed by the Committee, with one technical correction to a comment, and authorize them for publication and use. We discuss the more significant amendments below.

First, nonsubstantive revisions are made to several of the elements in instructions 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3 to improve readability or better track statutory language for the offenses covered by those instructions. Additionally, instructions 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3 are amended to replace "the" before "victim" with "that" or "a" to replace "victim" with the alleged victim's name throughout the instructions to avoid the trial court's accidentally referring to the alleged victim as a "victim." Statutory citations are also added above various definitions and paragraphs throughout these three instructions. Further, a bracketed sentence is added to the "Force" section of these instructions reading: "The law does not require the force, violence, assault, or putting in fear to be exerted against the victim from whom the property was taken if the force, violence, assault, or putting in fear was exerted against another in the course of the taking." A citation to Thomas v. State , 36 So.3d 853 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010), is added above that paragraph in each of those three instructions.

Instructions 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3 are also amended to add a definition of "great bodily harm" stating that " ‘Great bodily harm’ means great as distinguished from slight, trivial, minor, or moderate harm, and as such does not include mere bruises." A citation to Wheeler v. State , 203 So.3d 1007 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016), is added above that definition in each of those instructions. New paragraphs are added to the comments section of instructions 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3, and an existing paragraph in the comments section of each of those instructions is revised. However, we caution all interested parties that any comments associated with the instructions reflect only the opinion of the Committee and are not necessarily indicative of the views of this Court as to their correctness or applicability.

Next, the crime of resisting a merchant is added as a category-two lesser-included offense for carjacking in instruction 15.2.

With regard to instruction 26.9, several of the elements of the crime money laundering are revised to better track statutory language governing that offense. Additionally, a last element is added reading: "The money or property involved in the financial transaction exceeded $300 in any 12-month period." This amendment is made to address language found in section 896.101(5), Florida Statutes (2018). Further, a paragraph is added to the instruction providing: "A[n] (name of the specified unlawful activity in § 895.02(8)(a)(1.-50. alleged) consists of (give elements of the specified unlawful activity alleged). (If applicable, also explain attempt, conspiracy, solicitation, coercion, and/or intimidation to commit the specified unlawful activity.) "

Next, the phrase "virtual currency" is added to the definition of "monetary instruments" in instruction 26.9 to track recent statutory amendments, see ch. 2017-155, § 12, at 5, Laws of Fla., and a definition of "virtual currency" based on section 896.101(2)(j), Florida Statutes (2018), is added to the instruction. A lesser-included offense table is added to the instruction and contains second- and third-degree money laundering as category-one lesser-included offenses for first-degree money laundering. Last, a paragraph is added to the instruction directing the jury, if it found the defendant guilty of money laundering, to determine whether the transaction involved more than $300 but less than $20,000, $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, or $100,000 or more during any 12-month period, to determine the felony degree of the offense.

The amended criminal jury instructions, as set forth in the appendix to this opinion, are hereby authorized for publication and use.1 New language is indicated by underlining, and deleted language is indicated by struck-through type. In authorizing the publication and use of these instructions, we express no opinion on their correctness and remind all interested parties that this authorization forecloses neither requesting additional or alternative instructions nor contesting the legal correctness of the instructions. The instructions as set forth in the appendix shall become effective when this opinion becomes final.

It is so ordered.




§ 812.13, Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Robbery, the State must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. (Defendant) took [the] [a] [an] (money or property described in charge) from the person or custody of (person alleged).
2. Force, violence, assault, or putting in fear was used in the course of the taking.
3. The property taken was of some value.
4. The taking was with the intent to permanently or temporarily [deprive (victim) of [his] [her] right to the property or any benefit from it] [appropriate the property of (victim) to [his] [her] own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it].


Assault. § 784.011.Fla. Stat. Give if applicable.

An "assault" is an intentional and unlawful threat, either by word or act, to do violence to a victim, when it appears the person making the threat has the ability to carry out the threat, and the act creates in the mind ofthethat victim a well-founded fear that violence is about to take place.

Fear. Giveonlyif applicable. Smithson v. State, 689 So.2d 1226 (Fla. 5ththDCA 1997).

If the circumstances were such as to ordinarily induce fear in the mind of a reasonable person, thenthea victim may be found to have been in fear, and actual fear on the part ofthea victim need not be shown.

In the course of the taking. § 812.13(3)(b), Fla. Stat.

"In the course of the taking" means that the act occurred prior to, contemporaneous with, or subsequent to the taking of the property and that the act and the taking of the property constitute a continuous series of acts or events.

Afterthought. Giveonlyif applicable. DeJesus v. State, 98 So.3d 105 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012).

If you find that the taking of property occurred as an afterthought to the use of force or violence [or the threat of force or violence] againstthe victim(victim), the taking does not constituterR obbery, but may still constitutetT heft.

Title to property. Give if applicable.

In order for a taking of property to berR obbery, it is not necessary that the person robbed be theactualowner of the property. It is sufficient if thevictimperson has the custody of the property at the time of the offense.

Force. Givebracketed language onlyif applicable. Thomas v. State, 36 So.3d 853 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010).

The taking must be by the use of force or violenceor by assaultso as to overcome the resistance ofthe victima person , or by puttingthe victima person in fear so thatthe victimhe or she does not resist. [The law does not require the force, violence, assault, or putting in fear to be exerted against the victim from whom the property was taken if the force, violence, assault, or putting in fear was exerted against another in the course of the taking.] The law does not require thatthea victim ofrR obbery resist to any particular extent or thatthea victim offer any actual physical resistance if the circumstances are such thatthea victim is placed in fear of death or great bodily harm if he or she does resist. But unless prevented by fear, there must be some resistance to make the taking one done by force or violence.

Victim unconscious. Giveonlyif applicable.

It is alsorR obbery if a person, with intent to take the property from a victim, administers any substance toanother sothatthevictimso that [he] [she] becomes unconscious and then takes the property from the person or custody ofthethat victim.

Taking. Give if applicable.

In order for a taking by force, violence, or putting in fear to berR obbery, it is not necessary that the taking be from the person ofthea victim. It is sufficient if the property taken is under theactual controlcustody ofthea victim so that it cannot be taken without the use of force, violence, or intimidation directed againstthea victim.

Enhanced penalty. Giveonlyif applicable.§ 812.13(3)(a), Fla. Stat.

If you find the defendant guilty of the crime ofrR obbery, you must further determine beyond a reasonable doubt if "in the course of committing the robbery" the defendant carried some kind of weapon. An act is "in the course of committing the...

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