Simmons v. State

Decision Date10 July 1945
Citation22 So.2d 803,156 Fla. 353
PartiesSIMMONS v. STATE.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Appeal from Circuit Court, Manatee County; W. T. Harrison, judge.

Alvan B. Rowe, of Bradenton, for appellant.

J. Tom Watson Atty. Gen., and Reeves Bowen, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

BUFORD, Justice.

Appellant, being indicted, charged with the crime of murder in the first degree, was, on trial, convicted of manslaughter.

After careful consideration, we find only one reversible error in the record.

It might have been necessary for us to discuss some other alleged errors if the appellant had been convicted of a higher degree of unlawful homicide than manslaughter, but the verdict of guilty of manslaughter was an acquittal of any higher degree of unlawful homicide and, therefore, eliminates all questions except those applicable to such conviction.

The accused requested the court to give the following instruction:

'6. There is no burden resting on the defendant to prove or otherwise establish his innocence. The burden of proving the defendant guilty of the offense charged, beyond a reasonable doubt, is upon the state. Before there can be a conviction of the defendant, the State must prove all the material elements of the alleged offense. If from the evidence introduced, or from a lack of evidence, you entertain a reasonable doubt as to whether or not the defendant committed said offense, you should acquit the defendant.' Which was refused and exception noted.

The Court had in the general charge instructed the jury as follows:

'A doubt which is not suggested by, or does not arise from the evidence is not a reasonable doubt, and should not be considered.'

We think in view of this condition that the refusal to give the requested charge supra, constituted reversible error.

Charges of this character were discussed in Wallace v. State, 41 Fla. 547, 26 So. 713. See text 41 Fla. at page 580, 26 So. at page 723. See also Sims v. State, 54 Fla. 100, 44 So. 737; Vasquez v. State, 54 Fla. 127, 44 So. 739 127 Am.St.Rep. 129.

In State v. Andrews, 77 N.J.L. 108, 71 A. 109, 110, the Court said:

'* * * the instruction that a reasonable doubt must be one founded upon some evidence that was presented in the case was erroneous, as it excluded all reasonable doubt that may have arisen from the lack or want of evidence. Mackey v. People, 2 Colo. 13; McElven v. State, 30 Ga. 869; Brown v. State, 105 Ind. 385, 5 N.E. 900; Wright v. State, 69 Ind. 163, 35 Am.Rep. 212; Densmore v. State, 67 Ind. 306, 33 Am.Rep. 96; State v. Case, 96 Iowa 264, 65 N.W. 149; Hale v. State, 72 Miss. 140, 16 So. 387; Bray v. State, 41 Tex. 560; Bland v. State, 4 Tex.App. 15.'

See also Kelly v. State, 112 Miss. 245, 72 So. 928.

In Walker v. State, 82 Fla. 465, 90 So. 376, 378, we said:

'The ninth ground of the motion for a new trial is predicated upon the instruction to the jury on reasonable doubt in which this language is used: 'A doubt which is not suggested by or does not arise from the evidence is not a reasonable doubt, and should not be considered.' It is contended that the words 'or lack of evidence' should have been included in the charge. While there seems to be much force in this contention, this court in the case of Vasquez v. State, 54 Fla. 127, 44 So. 739, 127 Am.St.Rep. 129, held that the absence of these words is not ground for reversal, notwithstanding a reasonable doubt as to a person's guilt may arise more readily from lack of evidence than from evidence itself.

'We are not prepared to overrule the Vasquez case, supra, but we think if the charge on reasonable doubt always contained the additional words 'or lack of evidence' it would state the true rule more clearly, and remove all criticism that the instruction without those words is misleading, and tends to prejudice the rights of a person on trial.'

This case is to be differentiated from the Walker case in that in the Walker case there was no affirmative request for the giving of the instruction.

In December, 1929, the Supreme Court of Iowa, which had theretofore held in harmony with our Walker case, supra, had before it the case of State v. Anderson, 209 Iowa 510, 228 N.W. 353, 67 A.L.R. 1366, in which it, in a well reasoned opinion, overruled its former holding in this regard and reversed the judgment.

We adopt the reasoning and conclusion reached in that opinion.

Judgment reversed.

So ordered.

TERRELL, BROWN, and ADAMS, JJ., concur.

CHAPMAN, C. J., and THOMAS and SEBRING, JJ., dissent.

CHAPMAN, Chief Justice (dissenting).

I think the conclusion reached is a departure from our ruling in cases viz.: Walker v. State, 82 Fla. 465, 90 So. 376 where...

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  • Capote v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 10 Enero 2020
    ... ... Ed. 2d 276 (1985). " Perkins v. State , 808 So. 2d 1041 (Ala. Crim. App. 1999). "Although the trial court must consider all mitigating circumstances, it has discretion in determining whether a particular mitigating circumstance is proven and the weight it will give that circumstance." Simmons v. State , 797 So. 2d 1134, 1182 (Ala. Crim. App. 1999), quoting Wilson v. State , 777 So. 2d 856, 893 (Ala. Crim. App. 1999). "While Lockett [v. Ohio , 438 U.S. 586, 98 S.Ct. 2954, 57 L.Ed.2d 973 (1978),] and its progeny require consideration of all evidence submitted as mitigation, whether the ... ...
  • Green v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • 16 Diciembre 1957
    ... ...           The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting ... 880. Florida.—State ex rel. Landis v. Lewis, 118 Fla. 910, 911 916, 160 So. 485; see McLeod v. State, 128 Fla. 35, 37, 174 So. 466; Simmons v. State, 156 Fla. 353, 354, 22 So.2d 803. Illinois.—Brennan v. People, 15 Ill. 511, 517—519; People v. Newman, 360 Ill. 226, 232—233, 195 ... ...
  • State v. Hudson
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • 22 Octubre 1962
    ...1366 (Sup.Ct.1929). Three jurisdictions seemingly find error only if defendant requests a charge to that effect. Simmons v. State, 156 Fla. 353, 22 So.2d 803, 804 (Sup.Ct.1945); Brooks v. State, 52 So.2d 616, 620 (Miss.Sup.Ct.1951), appeal dismissed for want of jurisdiction and cert. denied......
  • Floyd v. State
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    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 7 Julio 2017
    ... ... State , 891 So. 2d 907, 969 (Ala. Crim. App. 2003) (noting that "[b]lood-spatter analysis is typically used to determine the position of the victim and the assailant at the time of the crime"), or the characteristics of the offense, such as the motivation for the crime, see, e.g., Simmons v. State , 797 So. 2d 1134, 1150-56 (Ala. Crim. App. 1999) (opinion on return to remand) (noting that crime-scene analysis involves "the gathering and analysis of physical evidence" to determine characteristics about the offense and possible motivation for the offense, and is similar to the field ... ...
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