Lee v. State, No. 98-2761.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation745 So.2d 1036
PartiesJames W. LEE, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 98-2761.
Decision Date25 October 1999

745 So.2d 1036

James W. LEE, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee

No. 98-2761.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

October 25, 1999.

Rehearing Denied December 8, 1999.


745 So.2d 1037
Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender; Glen P. Gifford, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for appellant

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General; Sherri Tolar Rollison, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for appellee.

PER CURIAM.

Appellant was arrested and convicted on a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer based upon an incident in which the officer was struck on the shoulder by appellant as the officer was waiting for an elevator outside the courtroom after the officer testified in a traffic case against appellant. As grounds for reversal, appellant contends (1) that the statute providing for an enhanced penalty for the offense of battery when committed against a law enforcement officer was improperly applied because the officer was not at the time "engaged in the lawful performance of his... duties," as provided by section 784.07(2), Florida Statutes (1997); and (2) that the trial court erred in instructing the jury in regard to the scope of the officer's legal duty. Upon consideration of the arguments made and authorities presented in the briefs of the parties, finding no reversible error, we affirm.

The record shows that after testifying in court against appellant on a traffic violation charge, Officer Berens was followed from the courtroom by the obviously hostile appellant. As Berens reached the elevator, some 15 to 20 feet from the entrance to the courtroom, he was struck from behind on his left shoulder. Turning, he saw no person in his immediate vicinity other than appellant, whereupon, he then loudly berated and admonished appellant not to "ever touch him" again. The presiding judge, hearing the commotion, sent a bailiff to instruct both the officer and the appellant to return to the courtroom. Upon hearing Officer Berens' explanation that appellant had hit him, the judge said, "Well, why don't you arrest him?" Berens did as suggested, and appellant was thereafter charged with the offense of battery on a law enforcement officer. Under section 784.07(2)(b), Florida Statutes (1997), the offense of battery upon a law enforcement officer, while the officer is "engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties," is reclassified from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree. Appellant argues here that a slap on the shoulder of an officer waiting for an elevator outside a courtroom is not, as a matter of law, a battery upon an officer "engaged in the lawful performance of his duties," and the officer is therefore not entitled to the special protections of the statute. We disagree, and find that the trial court did not err in denying appellant's motion for judgment of acquittal as to any offense covered by the enhancement provisions of section 784.07(2), Florida Statutes (1997).

Our standard for review is whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion for judgment of acquittal. See, e.g., Terry v....

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3 practice notes
  • Jones v. State, No. 1D00-2878.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 3, 2001
    ...a judgment of acquittal is reviewed by the de novo standard, yet in Whetstone v. State, 778 So.2d 338 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000), Lee v. State, 745 So.2d 1036 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), Moore v. State, 537 So.2d 693 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989), and Barnett v. State, 444 So.2d 967 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983), the court ......
  • Cox v. State, No. 1D99-2737.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 19, 2000
    ...of a trial court's denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal is whether the trial court abused its discretion. See Lee v. State, 745 So.2d 1036, 1037 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), citing Terry v. State, 668 So.2d 954 The statute applicable, section 893.13(1)(c), Florida Statutes, provides in pert......
  • Whetstone v. State, No. 1D99-2400
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 29, 2000
    ...of acquittal is whether the trial court abused its discretion." See Cox v. State, 764 So.2d 711 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000); Lee v. State, 745 So.2d 1036, 1037 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), citing Terry v. State, 668 So.2d 954 (Fla. "Burglary" is defined in section 810.02, Florida Statutes (1997), which pro......
3 cases
  • Jones v. State, No. 1D00-2878.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 3, 2001
    ...a judgment of acquittal is reviewed by the de novo standard, yet in Whetstone v. State, 778 So.2d 338 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000), Lee v. State, 745 So.2d 1036 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), Moore v. State, 537 So.2d 693 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989), and Barnett v. State, 444 So.2d 967 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983), the court ......
  • Cox v. State, No. 1D99-2737.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 19, 2000
    ...of a trial court's denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal is whether the trial court abused its discretion. See Lee v. State, 745 So.2d 1036, 1037 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), citing Terry v. State, 668 So.2d 954 The statute applicable, section 893.13(1)(c), Florida Statutes, provides in pert......
  • Whetstone v. State, No. 1D99-2400
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 29, 2000
    ...of acquittal is whether the trial court abused its discretion." See Cox v. State, 764 So.2d 711 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000); Lee v. State, 745 So.2d 1036, 1037 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), citing Terry v. State, 668 So.2d 954 (Fla. "Burglary" is defined in section 810.02, Florida Statutes (1997), which pro......

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