Posts Tagged ‘corpus delicti’


Case Law Update: Corpus Delicti in Florida

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

There is a new case summarizing Florida law on corpus delicti.  The Second DCA has recently handed down its opinion in Reinlein v. State (2D10-2705).  To read the full opinion, go here.

The case deals with corpus delicti on a Tampering with Physical Evidence charge.  In its reasoning, the Court summarized the current law on corpus delicti as follows:

The State must establish an independent corpus delicti in order to offer an admission against interest into evidence. J.B. v. State, 705 So. 2d 1376, 1378 (Fla. 1998). The term “corpus delicti” is used to refer to ” ‘the legal elements necessary to show that a crime was committed.’ ” State v. Colorado, 890 So. 2d 468, 470 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) (quoting State v. Allen, 335 So. 2d 823, 824 n.2 (Fla. 1976)). The State must prove those elements by substantial evidence and may use circumstantial evidence to do so. See Burks v. State, 613 So. 2d 441, 443 (Fla. 1993) (quoting Allen, 335 So. 2d at 824). ” ‘This standard does not require the proof to be uncontradicted or overwhelming, but it must at least show the existence of each element of the crime.’ ” Id. (quoting Allen, 335 So. 2d at 825). Thus, to authorize the introduction of [Defendant’s] admissions, the State had to establish with substantial evidence each element of the crime of tampering with physical evidence.

(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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Corona and Crawford

Friday, June 17th, 2011

…no, not THAT kind of Corona.  But since you’re here, you might as well read on.

On June 9, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court issued an important ruling on a defendant’s 6th Amendment Confrontation Clause protections.  The case is Corona v. State (SC06-1054) and the full opinion can be read here.

This case is important for three reasons:

1.  It holds that a discovery deposition is not the equivalent of a prior opportunity for cross-examination.

2.  It gives some guidance on how to properly preserve a Crawford issue or objection.

3.  It has a good analysis on the corpus delicti rule.

If any of these three points are of interest, check out the opinion.