Stieh v. State , 2D09–3158.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtBLACK, Judge.
Citation67 So.3d 275
PartiesWilliam Hyatt STIEH, a/k/a William Hyatt Stien, Appellant,v.STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 2D09–3158.,2D09–3158.
Decision Date01 April 2011

67 So.3d 275

William Hyatt STIEH, a/k/a William Hyatt Stien, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.

No. 2D09–3158.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District.

April 1, 2011.


[67 So.3d 276]

James Marion Moorman, Public Defender, and Bruno F. DeZayas, Special Public Defender, Bartow, for Appellant.Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Sara Macks, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee.BLACK, Judge.

Following a September 1, 2007, incident where Stieh stabbed Daniel Conneally, Stieh was charged with aggravated battery. Stieh proceeded to trial and at the close of the State's case and again at the close of his case, he moved for judgment of acquittal, arguing the State failed to present sufficient evidence to overcome his theory of self-defense. Both motions were denied, and Stieh was convicted. Because Stieh presented a prima facie case of self-defense and the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense, the trial court should have granted Stieh's second motion for judgment of acquittal. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment.

The events in question occurred after four parties—Conneally, the victim; the victim's girlfriend; Stieh, the appellant; and Jeffrey Flaherty, the appellant's friend—engaged in a consensual sexual encounter. Conneally and his girlfriend were invited to join Stieh and Flaherty in the hotel room rented by Stieh. After the three men had sex with Conneally's girlfriend, she and Conneally left the hotel. Shortly after leaving, the two realized their wallets were missing, and they returned to Stieh's hotel room to search for them. Upon arriving, Conneally initiated a physical confrontation with Flaherty. In defense of himself and Flaherty, Stieh stabbed Conneally three times.

At trial, the State did not contest that the victim was significantly larger in stature than Stieh—at 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds—and Flaherty—at 5 feet 7 inches tall and 160 pounds. It was also uncontested that the victim was demeaning, demanding, and aggressive during the

[67 So.3d 277]

sexual encounter prior to the stabbing. Finally, of the four people directly involved in the incident, only the victim testified that he was not angry upon his return to the hotel. The other three testified that the victim was angry and that he forced entry into Stieh's hotel room. The victim, however, testified that he only became angry upon finding the wallets under a trash can outside of the hotel room. Thus, there was a consensus among the parties and witnesses that the victim either arrived angry and looking for a confrontation or became angry and confrontational after locating the wallets that appeared as though they had been intentionally hidden.

The victim testified that while he and Flaherty were standing outside of the room, he found the wallets under a trash can. He became angry and shoved Flaherty back inside the hotel room. The two fought, the victim shoving Flaherty, and Flaherty punching the victim. At some point during the skirmish, the victim realized he was bleeding and left the hotel room. The victim did not testify to a physical altercation with Stieh and did not recall being stabbed.

After the altercation and stabbing, two law enforcement officers arrived on the scene and interviewed Stieh and Flaherty. Both officers testified that Stieh admitted stabbing the victim. Officer Murray stated that Stieh told him he was scared and thought the victim was going to hurt Flaherty. Stieh also told the officer the victim was “off the chain.” Officer Stewart testified Stieh told him that he had left the room after the victim and the victim's girlfriend returned to look for the wallets and that when he returned to the room, the victim was attacking Flaherty. Stieh then told the officer that the victim charged him, that he told the victim to “get back,” that the victim charged again, and that Stieh stabbed him.

The defense presented the testimony of several witnesses, including the victim's girlfriend, Flaherty, and Stieh. Conneally's...

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9 practice notes
  • Claxton v. Sec'y, Case No. 3:12-cv-804-J-34JRK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • 29 Mayo 2015
    ...So.3d 970, 972 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). The state may meet its burden through rebuttal or by inference in its case-in-chief. Stieh v. State, 67 So.3d 275, 278 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). If the state fails to sustain its burden, the trial court must grant a judgment of acquittal in favor of the defenda......
  • Williams v. State, No. SC16-2170
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 4 Enero 2019
    ..., 921 So.2d 708, 712 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (quoting Fowler v. State , 492 So.2d 1344, 1348 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986) ); see also Stieh v. State , 67 So.3d 275, 279 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). In order to establish a prima facie case of self-defense, a defendant must show that he (1) was attacked in a place ......
  • Morgan v. State, No. 5D12–1829.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 13 Diciembre 2013
    ...So.3d 970, 972 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). The state may meet its burden through rebuttal or by inference in its case-in-chief. Stieh v. State, 67 So.3d 275, 278 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). If the state fails to sustain its burden, the trial court must grant a judgment of acquittal in favor of the defenda......
  • Morgan v. State, Case No. 5D12-1829
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 22 Noviembre 2013
    ...So. 3d 970, 972 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). The state may meet its burden through rebuttal or by inference in its case-in-chief. Stieh v. State, 67 So. 3d 275, 278 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). If the state fails to sustain its burden, the trial court must grant a judgment of acquittal in favor of the defen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Claxton v. Sec'y, Case No. 3:12-cv-804-J-34JRK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • 29 Mayo 2015
    ...So.3d 970, 972 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). The state may meet its burden through rebuttal or by inference in its case-in-chief. Stieh v. State, 67 So.3d 275, 278 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). If the state fails to sustain its burden, the trial court must grant a judgment of acquittal in favor of the defenda......
  • Morgan v. State, 5D12–1829.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 13 Diciembre 2013
    ...So.3d 970, 972 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). The state may meet its burden through rebuttal or by inference in its case-in-chief. Stieh v. State, 67 So.3d 275, 278 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). If the state fails to sustain its burden, the trial court must grant a judgment of acquittal in favor of the defenda......
  • Williams v. State, SC16-2170
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 4 Enero 2019
    ..., 921 So.2d 708, 712 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (quoting Fowler v. State , 492 So.2d 1344, 1348 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986) ); see also Stieh v. State , 67 So.3d 275, 279 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). In order to establish a prima facie case of self-defense, a defendant must show that he (1) was attacked in a place ......
  • Morgan v. State, Case No. 5D12-1829
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 22 Noviembre 2013
    ...So. 3d 970, 972 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). The state may meet its burden through rebuttal or by inference in its case-in-chief. Stieh v. State, 67 So. 3d 275, 278 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). If the state fails to sustain its burden, the trial court must grant a judgment of acquittal in favor of the defen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Pretrial motions and defenses
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books The Florida Criminal Cases Notebook. Volume 1-2 Volume 1
    • 30 Abril 2021
    ...claim that he was acting in self-defense when he stabbed the victim, the court errs in failing to grant a JOA. Steih v. State, 67 So. 3d 275 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) The failure to object to the giving of the forcible felony exception to the self-defense defense is not a reasonable defense strate......

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