Treason in Florida

Many of us are familiar with the word “treason”, but are we familiar with the elements of the crime in Florida?

It is a crime that is rarely prosecuted, in fact, a Westlaw annotated statute search revealed no Florida state court appellate decisions on the crime.  The treason statute can be found at Fla. Stat. 876.32.  In full, the statute reads:

Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against the same, or in adhering to the enemies thereof, or giving them aid and comfort.  Whoever commits treason against this state shall be guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.775.082, s.775.083, or s.775.084.

The treason law was enacted in 1868, interestingly, the same year Florida adopted its first Constitution.

There is a separate statute explaining what type of proof is needed in order to obtain a treason conviction, that statute is found at Fla. Stat. 932.50 and reads in full:

No person shall be convicted of treason except by the testimony of two lawful witnesses to the same overt act of treason for which the person is prosecuted, unless he or she confess the same in open court.

According to Wikipedia, there have only been two documented prosecutions for treason at the state level:  Thomas Dorr for treason against the state of Rhode Island for his part in the Dorr Rebellion, and that of John Brown for treason against the state of Virginia for his part in the raid on Harpers Ferry.

 

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

~At Matthews Law Firm, P.A., we practice criminal defense and health law.~

 

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