Williams v. State, 98-327.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtVAN NORTWICK, J.
Citation740 So.2d 27
PartiesClifford Donell WILLIAMS, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 98-327.,98-327.
Decision Date26 March 1999

740 So.2d 27

Clifford Donell WILLIAMS, Appellant,
STATE of Florida, Appellee

No. 98-327.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

March 26, 1999.

740 So.2d 28
Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender; Carol Ann Turner, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General; J. Ray Poole, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.


Clifford Donell Williams appeals his conviction and sentences for burglary of an occupied structure and petit theft of a VCR. Because appellant's convictions were based solely on fingerprint evidence on the VCR when it was found in an open and public location, and appellant's hypothesis of innocence, that the prints were made when he picked the VCR up from the side of a well-traveled road to look at it, was reasonable as a matter of law, we reverse.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on February 26, 1997, Jeffrey Blair, an employee of Ford Housing, saw a male leave the area of his office, exit the building, and begin running toward Corporate Woods Drive. Officer Harris responded to his call and the two found nothing amiss. An hour later, Blair left work, and, as he headed toward Corporate Woods Drive, he saw a VCR beside the road in the grass. Suspecting that it might be the VCR from his office, he returned to the office and discovered the office VCR was missing from the conference room. When Officer Harris received a call to return a second time, it was approximately 10:00 p.m. Officer Harris retrieved the VCR which was processed for prints. Fingerprints recovered from the VCR belonged to appellant. Blair could not identify appellant as the man he saw leaving his office.

After waiving his right to a jury trial, appellant was tried on charges of burglary and petit theft before a judge. Upon presentation of the state's case, summarized above, appellant moved for a judgment of acquittal arguing that as a matter of law the state failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that his prints were placed on the VCR at the time of the crime. The trial court denied the motion.

Appellant then testified that he was walking from the shopping mall toward Corporate Woods Drive where he was going to a local restaurant for a sandwich. He saw a VCR on the side of the road, stopped and picked it up to see if it was junk. Appellant testified that the VCR was wet, and, since he knew how expensive it would be to repair a VCR, he left the machine by the side of...

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7 cases
  • Harrell v. United States, Case No: 2:16-cv-284-FtM-29MRM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • February 10, 2020
    ...the evidence must demonstrate that the fingerprints could have been made only when the crime wasPage 30 committed.' Williams v. State, 740 So. 2d 27, 28 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999). Thus, if the only evidence is fingerprints, and they are 'found on an item or in a place accessible to the general pu......
  • KS v. State, 5D01-1520.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 19, 2002
    ...the fingerprint could have only been made when the crime was committed. Jaramillo v. State, 417 So.2d 257 (Fla. 1982); Williams v. State, 740 So.2d 27 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999); Formor v. State, 676 So.2d 1013 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996); C.E. v. State, 665 So.2d 1097 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996); Miles v. State,......
  • Arrowood Indem. Co. v. Acosta Inc., 1D10–1060.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 16, 2011
    ...nominal offer is appropriate. Zachem v. Paradigm Properties Mgmt. Team, Inc., 867 So.2d 1263 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004); City of Neptune Beach, 740 So.2d at 27 (“[T]he obligation of good faith merely insists that the offeror have some reasonable foundation upon which to base an offer.” (quoting Sc......
  • C.P.C. v. State, 5D14–4442.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 30, 2015
    ...at crime scene were made at time of crime and could not have been made during earlier, innocent visit to premises); Williams v. State, 740 So.2d 27, 28 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999) (reversing convictions solely based on fingerprint evidence from VCR found in open, public location and holding defenda......
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