That’s A Crime?–Fake Florida Oranges

Is it possible to determine WHERE these oranges came from?

 

 

 

 

This is Part 4 in a series dedicated to obscure and unusual Florida criminal laws.

In Florida, the message is clear and simple: don’t mess with our oranges.  Florida statute 865.02 says:

Whoever ships foreign-grown fruit or oranges, representing by mark or otherwise that said fruit is the product of the state, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

That’s right, if a person picks an orange in Georgia and then ships it out with a stamp indicating the orange is from Florida, that person has just committed a crime punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine.

Background

This statute became a law in 1883 and was last revised in 1971.

Application

A Westlaw search indicated no case history citing this statute.

Possible Noteworthy Issues

  • This law has to make one wonder, unless the suspect admitted that the oranges came from out-of-state, how would the authorities know with certainty where the oranges came from?  Is it possible for a fruit expert to examine an orange and determine that the orange did/did not come from Florida?  (If the only way the authorities determine the oranges came from out-of-state is from the suspect’s statements, would the state be able to get past a corpus challenge?
  • Jurisdiction:  Assume the oranges were picked in California, stamped with the Florida-grown stamp, and then shipped to Texas to sell.  How would Florida obtain jurisdiction?  Since there is no guidance in the statute, the law seems to strike against traditional notions of jurisdiction.  Unless the oranges were actually brought to or through Florida, proving jurisdiction may be difficult for the state.
  • The statute does not apply only to oranges, but also applies to “fruit” (leaving the door open for strawberries, blueberries, and any other fruit…).

In the end, this is what we know: Florida really loves its oranges…er, fruit.

(Disclaimer: This post is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

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