Walker v. State

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation656 So.2d 950
Docket NumberNo. 93-2870,93-2870
Parties20 Fla. L. Weekly D1420 Sylvester WALKER, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date16 June 1995

James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and Lyle Hitchens, Asst. Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, and Ann M. Childs, Asst. Atty. Gen., Daytona Beach, for appellee.

HARRIS, Chief Judge.

The Wilson home was burglarized by someone who entered the house through a broken window in the back bedroom. Sylvester Walker's fingerprint was found on that window trim at the location where one might place his hands in order to push the window up from the outside. Although this was the only evidence connecting him to the premises, he was convicted of burglary of a dwelling and grand theft.

Walker appeals the trial court's refusal to grant a judgment of acquittal at the conclusion of the evidence contending the fingerprint evidence, standing alone and in light of his testimony as to how the fingerprint might have been placed there at a prior time, was insufficient to sustain his conviction. We disagree and affirm.

Walker, although admitting that he never had consent to be on the property, urges that he and other youths in the neighborhood sometimes used a path that crossed the Wilsons' back yard. In addition, he stated that when the Wilsons' house was being painted, the painter permitted him to paint a small portion near the bedroom window. 1 While Walker doesn't remember ever touching the windowsill during these excursions onto the Wilson property, he cannot say that he did not do so.

The Wilsons' landlord, however, testified that he was present when the house was being painted and Walker was not on the premises throughout the painting process.

We start with the proposition that the windowsill of a backyard window leading into a bedroom is not "accessible to the general public," and a fingerprint found there after the window was broken and used as access for an illegal entry into the home of another raises an inference that the prints were placed there at the time of the forced entry. 2 In State v. Mattox, 441 So.2d 648, 650 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983), the court held that evidence that the "defendant's fingerprint was placed at the point of entry at the time of the burglary; that the fingerprints were in a location where one engaged in a burglary could have placed them; that the relative location of where the prints were found does not give rise to the reasonableness of prior access; and that the defendant had no authorization to be on the premises" was sufficient to overcome a motion to dismiss.

In Williams v. State, 308 So.2d 595 (Fla. 1st DCA), cert. denied, 321 So.2d 555 (Fla.1975), the court, based on the facts of that case, refused to distinguish between fingerprints found at a public versus a private location on the premises and instead adopted "the reasonableness of prior access" standard. Even so, the unauthorized use of a pathway across the backyard of a house does not indicate reasonable access to the sill of a bedroom window. There are few places that cannot be "accessed" by illegal trespass but that does not negate the evidentiary value of fingerprints found at the scene of the crime.

Since Walker's testimony concerning his being permitted to paint an area around the bedroom...

To continue reading

Request your trial
11 cases
  • Stuberfield v. State, 95-1198
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 5 Marzo 1997
    ...2 See, e.g., Jones v. State, 657 So.2d 23 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995); Pearson v. State, 657 So.2d 21 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995); Walker v. State, 656 So.2d 950 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995); Knight v. State, 656 So.2d 593 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995); Philmore v. State, 656 So.2d 270 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995); Wood v. State, 655 S......
  • KS v. State, 5D01-1520.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 19 Abril 2002
    ...of the crime, the defendant is entitled to a judgment of acquittal. Williams; Formor; C.E.; Miles; Sorey; Knight. In Walker v. State, 656 So.2d 950 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995), a case virtually identical to the present one, a home was burglarized by someone who entered through a broken window in th......
  • C.P.C. v. State, 5D14–4442.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 Octubre 2015
    ...that they were taken from a place where he might 179 So.3d 379have placed his hands in order to open the window. See Walker v. State, 656 So.2d 950, 951 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995). While the fingerprints could be consistent with C.P.C. placing his hands on the window to gain access to the apartmen......
  • Brown v. State, 96-2692
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 2 Mayo 1997
    ...REMANDED. DAUKSCH and GOSHORN, JJ., concur. --------------- 1 § 812.13, Fla.Stat. 2 § 39.059(7)(c), Fla.Stat. (1993); Walker v. State, 656 So.2d 950 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995); Varela v. State, 650 So.2d 683 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995); Parks v. State, 637 So.2d 347 (Fla. 5th DCA...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT