Jones v. State

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation200 So.2d 574
Docket NumberNo. 66--694,66--694
PartiesWillie Dee JONES, Appellant, v. The STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date20 June 1967

Robert L. Koeppel, Public Defender, James E. Messer and Robert G. Lilly, Special Asst. Public Defenders, for appellant.

Earl Faircloth, Atty. Gen., Arden M. Siegendorf and Herbert P. Benn, Asst. Attys. Gen., for appellee.



On this appeal from a conviction for grand larceny (purse snatching) the appellant makes two contentions. First, that his right against self-incrimination was violated at the trial by the admission of testimony presented by the state that after being apprehended he stood silent in the face of accusation by the victim. Second, that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction.

The evidence disclosed that the victim, while walking home after shopping, was approached by three boys, one of whom grabbed and made off with her purse containing a billfold, $128 in bills, some change including a Kennedy half dollar, a cigarette lighter and a comb. She made prompt report to the police, advising them that one of the boys was short and that the one who grabbed her purse was tall. She further described the latter as wearing light blue pants, a light colored shirt, a sweater and tennis shoes.

Approximately an hour and a half later, an officer cruising in an unmarked police car, having received the descriptions and being on the lookout for such persons, saw two young men on foot, at a point approximately six blocks from the place of the alleged crime, who appeared to fit the descriptions. The officer stopped and asked them to come over to his car. They ran, and the officer gave chase. After a pursuit of five blocks the officer overtook and apprehended the defendant and returned him to the place where the victim remained in company of two officers. There, in the presence of the officers, the victim identified the defendant as the one who had taken her purse from her. Thereupon the defendant was informed he was under arrest, and was required to empty his pockets. Produced from his person were a billfold, bills, Kennedy half dollar and cigarette lighter, which the victim identified as property belonging to her which had been in her purse when it was taken. The defendant then was transported to the Dade County jail, and subsequently informed against, tried and convicted of grand larceny.

At the trial the victim made definite identification of the defendant as the one who had taken her purse, and also identified as her property the lighter and other items found on the defendant's person following his arrest.

One of the officers who testified at the trial was asked what response if any was given by the defendant when the victim indicated he was the one who had taken her purse. The officer replied: 'Nothing, sir. I didn't hear him say anything.' No objections was made to the introduction of that testimony. The defendant testified in his own behalf, denying participation in the incident and stating that when the victim identified him as the one who had taken her purse, at the time of his arrest, he had not remained silent but had said: 'I didn't snatch no purse.'

The determinative question on this appeal is whether the introduction by the state, without objection, of testimony that the accused, while in custody, remained silent in the face of an accusation of guilt of the crime for which he was arrested and charged, constituted reversible error.

Under Florida decisions that testimony was admissible. Roberts v. State, 94 Fla. 149, 113 So. 726; Autrey v. State, 94 Fla. 229, 114 So. 244, 245; Handley v. State, 125 Fla. 632, 170 So. 748, 753; Edwards v. State, 155 Fla. 550, 20 So.2d 916; Albano v. State, Fla.1956, 89 So.2d 342, 344

In Albano v. State, supra, the Supreme Court of Florida said:

'* * * this court has committed itself to the rule that when one in custody accused of a crime has full liberty to speak and remains silent in the presence of accusations of his guilt, then evidence of such silence may be considered with other facts and circumstances established by evidence as tending to show guilt. While silence alone certainly raises no legal presumption of guilt, its effect is for the jury which under proper instructions may consider it in connection with other facts and circumstances as some evidence of guilt. * * *'

However, in the Miranda case, decided June 13, 1966, 1 the Supreme Court of the United States held contrary to the Florida rulings on that point and supplemented the holding with a footnote which contained...

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61 cases
  • Tsavaris v. Scruggs, 48637
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • March 17, 1977
    ...contemplates protection from compelled Page 758 conduct that is testimonial in character as well as spoken words." In Jones v. State, 200 So.2d 574 (Fla. 3d DCA 1967), the court held that the introduction by the state, without objection, of testimony that the accused, while in custody, rema......
  • Porter v. State, 76-2040
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 7, 1978
    ...4th DCA 1976); Martin v. State, 334 So.2d 841 (Fla. 4th DCA 1976); Bostic v. State, 332 So.2d 349 (Fla. 4th DCA 1976); Jones v. State, 200 So.2d 574 (Fla. 3d DCA 2 Gillian v. State, --- So.2d ---- (Fla. 1st DCA 1977) (case no. FF-59, opinion filed August 18, 1977); Clark v. State, 336 So.2d......
  • State v. Hoggins, 90121
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 17, 1998
    ...694 (1966), precluded the use of a defendant's silence at the time of arrest. The first case to address the issue was Jones v. State, 200 So.2d 574 (Fla. 3d DCA 1967). The facts in Jones were similar to the facts in the instant case. After a pursuit, the defendant was apprehended by police ......
  • State v. DiGuilio, 65490
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • July 17, 1986
    ...State, 89 So.2d 342 (Fla.1956). The per se reversal rule for comments on the right to remain silent was first adopted in Jones v. State, 200 So.2d 574 (Fla. 3d DCA 1967). This Court adopted Jones and the per se rule in Bennett v. State, 316 So.2d 41 (Fla.1975), and has approved the rule in ......
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