Knight v. State, 73--586

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation294 So.2d 387
Docket NumberNo. 73--586,73--586
PartiesWalter KNIGHT, Jr., Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date17 May 1974

Page 387

294 So.2d 387
Walter KNIGHT, Jr., Appellant,
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
No. 73--586.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District.
May 17, 1974.

Richard L. Jorandby, Public Defender, and Bruce J. Daniels, Asst. Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., and Enoch J. Whitney, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, for appellee.

WALDEN, Judge.

Defendant was convicted of three crimes specified in three counts, all contained in the same information. Counts 1 and 2 dealt with grand larceny and breaking and entering a concrete company in November 1972. Count 3 dealt with the breaking and entering of a gasoline service station in September 1972. The crimes charged in Counts 1 and 2 were in nowise related to that specified in Count 3. Defendant's pre-trial motion to sever them, that is to say, Counts 1 and 2 from Count 3, pursuant to Rule 3.152(a)(2), F.R.C.P., 33 F.S.A., was well founded and should have been granted.

Defendant appeals. Our decision--we affirm the conviction on Counts 1 and 2. We reverse as to Count 3 because of an insufficiency of evidence and direct that a new trial be awarded to the defendant as to it.

Page 388

Broadly, the appeal challenges the sufficiency of the proofs to convict and the error in denying the severance motion.

Upon review, the evidence as to defendant's guilt under Counts 1 and 2 is strong and altogether adequate. We see no reason to detail and discuss it.

The evidence as to defendant's guilt in breaking and entering the service station (Count 3) is of a different weight and hue.

Sometime between 9:00 p.m., Saturday, September 24, 1972, and 7:00 a.m., Sunday, September 25, 1972, with the exact time being unspecified, the service station was broken into and a number of items stolen. A policeman on patrol that night had sighted an unfamiliar and unoccupied vehicle parked at the station and had made note of the license tag number. Approximately two months later the same policeman saw the same car. He stopped the vehicle and asked defendant, who was driving, to open the trunk. An adding machine was found there, later to be identified as one taken from the J. S. Concrete Company (the premises described in Counts 1 and 2). In November of 1972 this concrete company had been robbed of a typewriter, an adding machine, bolt cutters and a sabre-saw. None of the property allegedly taken from the service station was ever recovered. One latent finger print belonging to appellant was found at the service station. The print was found at the base of the service bay door. The proofs do not definitely show that the print was near a lock or a handle or to be in a position a customer could not have reached. It was not shown when and under what circumstances the print was made.

Back to the car in question. It was owned by a Mrs. Witherspoon who at various times and places had lent the car to others. There was no evidence that defendant was driving the car or was possessed of it on the night of the service station break-in.

Summarizing, then, the only evidence of defendant's guilt is one latent finger print of the defendant which was found on the premises with no showing as to when or under what circumstances it was imprinted. Two months...

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10 cases
  • Zeigler v. State, 50355
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 11, 1981
    ...unless the circumstances are such that the print could have been made only at the time the crime was committed, citing Knight v. State, 294 So.2d 387 (Fla. 4th DCA 1974). Unless it is shown when a fingerprint was placed on a particular item or a particular location, that fingerprint is an i......
  • Sorey v. State, 81-2465
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 28, 1982
    ...the glass before it was broken. 5 Perhaps the most generous view of place accessible to the general public is found in Knight v. State, 294 So.2d 387 (Fla. 4th DCA 1974), where the court held that the defendant's fingerprint found at the base of a service bay door of a gasoline service stat......
  • KS v. State, 5D01-1520.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 19, 2002
    ...(Fla. 1st DCA 1984), pet. for review denied, 476 So.2d 675 (Fla.1985); Sorey v. State, 419 So.2d 810 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982); Knight v. State, 294 So.2d 387 (Fla. 4th DCA), cert. denied, 303 So.2d 29 (Fla.1974). Further, where the print is found on an item or in a place accessible to the general......
  • State v. Hayes, 75--1034
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 11, 1976
    ...scant stipulated facts, that the defendant's fingerprints could only have been made at the time the crime was committed, Knight v. State, 294 So.2d 387 (4th DCA Fla.1974); Tirko v. State, 138 So.2d 388 (3rd DCA We offer these thoughts with reference to the facts: 1. It was not shown whether......
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