King v. State, 80-1208

Decision Date01 July 1981
Docket NumberNo. 80-1208,80-1208
Citation425 So.2d 1379
PartiesNathaniel KING, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Richard L. Jorandby, Public Defender, Tatjana Ostapoff and Robert C. Fallon, Asst. Public Defenders, and Douglas N. Duncan, Legal Intern, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Jim Smith, Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, and Laura R. Morrison, Asst. Atty. Gen., West Palm Beach, for appellee.

MOORE, Judge.

The appellant, Nathaniel King, was charged by indictment with the crimes of robbery, a second degree felony, and aggravated battery, also a second degree felony. At the time of the alleged offenses the appellant was seventeen years old. He appeals his convictions for robbery and simple battery, contending that he, as a juvenile, was improperly indicted. We agree with this contention and reverse.

Chapter 39, Florida Statutes (1979) vests exclusive jurisdiction of criminal offenders below the age of eighteen years in the juvenile division of the circuit court subject to four exceptions: (1) after a waiver hearing a juvenile judge may certify a child fourteen years of age or older for trial as an adult, Section 39.02(5)(a); (2) a child, joined by his parent or guardian, may demand to be tried as an adult, Section 39.02(5)(b); (3) a child, if age sixteen or seventeen at the time of the alleged offense, may be tried as an adult upon the filing of an information by the state attorney if the state attorney, in his judgment and discretion, determines that the public interest requires imposition of adult sanctions, Section 39.04(2)(e)(4); (4) a child of any age charged with a violation of Florida law punishable by death or life imprisonment shall be tried as an adult if an indictment on such charge is returned by the grand jury, Section 39.02(5)(a). Under the third exception, upon motion of the child, the case will be transferred back to the juvenile division if it is shown by the child that he had not previously been found to have committed two delinquent acts, one of which involved an offense classified under Florida law as a felony.

Chapter 39 does not explicitly provide for indictment of a juvenile for a crime not punishable by death or life imprisonment. Furthermore, the Florida courts have strictly limited adult treatment of juveniles to the exceptions delineated above. Robidoux v. Coker, 383 So.2d 719 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980), Pet. for rev. den., 389 So.2d 1108 (Fla.1980); A. D. T. v. State, 318 So.2d 478 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975); State ex rel. Lugo v. Sepe, 296 So.2d 640 (Fla. 3d DCA 1974); Whidden v. State, 374 So.2d 543 (Fla. 2d DCA 1979). A juvenile, therefore, may not be indicted unless the crime charged is one punishable by death or life imprisonment. Otherwise, a state attorney could circumvent Chapter 39 by seeking an indictment for every alleged juvenile offender. In Robidoux, supra, this court aligned itself with the other district courts of appeal and held that the adult criminal division of the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to try a juvenile on two counts of an indictment for crimes not punishable by death or life imprisonment even though the indictment also charged the juvenile with a third offense which was punishable by death or life imprisonment. Consequently, in the...

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3 cases
  • State v. King
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1982
    ...This cause is before the Court on the state's petition for review of a decision of the district court of appeal. King v. State, 425 So.2d 1379 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981). The district court certified as a question of great public importance the MAY A JUVENILE WHO IS SUBJECT TO THE DIRECT FILING OF......
  • State v. Fitzpatrick, 61639
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • April 14, 1983
    ...Fitzpatrick v. State, --- So.2d ---- (Fla. 4th DCA 1982), which was a companion case to the Fourth District's case of King v. State, 425 So.2d 1379 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981). In both of these cases, the Fourth District certified the question of whether a juvenile can be indicted for an offense no......
  • Fitzpatrick v. State, 80-1148
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • January 20, 1982
    ...and Laura R. Morrison, Asst. Atty. Gen., West Palm Beach, for appellee. PER CURIAM. This is a companion case to King v. State, 425 So.2d 1379 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981). Appellant, aged 15 at the time of the alleged crime, was indicted for unarmed robbery and aggravated assault and tried in adult ......

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