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3D11-2244

3D11-2244

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Published by Rumpole21
A judicial love story.
A judicial love story.

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Published by: Rumpole21 on Jun 28, 2012
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06/28/2012

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Third District Court of Appeal
State of Florida, January Term, A.D. 2012
Opinion filed June 27, 2012.Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.________________No. 3D11-2244Lower Tribunal Nos. 11-11019, 10-36703, 11-14965, 11-3312B, 11-14407, 10-36745, 11-9743, 11-14133, 11-11135, 11-6919B, 11-13861, 11-6159, 11-13314,11-17597, 11-14038B, 11-15382B, 11-17098A, 11-1967, 11-1968, 11-3940B, 11-7696, 11-16898, 11-14038A, 11-7238, 11-13292, 11-15382A, 10-10491, 11-7869,11-16304A, 11-7943D, 10-27154, 10-27155, 11-17226, 11-17954, 10-19203, 11-4781, 11-4226, 10-18945, 09-25144B, 11-14298, 10-24847A, 11-17686________________
The State of Florida,
Appellant,vs.
Robert Washington, et al.,
Appellees.An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Milton Hirsch,Judge.Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Richard L. Polin, Chief AssistantAttorney General, for appellant.Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and John Eddy Morrison and DanielTibbitt, Assistant Public Defenders, for appellees.
 
 2Greenberg Traurig and Elliot H. Scherker; and Karen M. Gottlieb for FloridaAssociation of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Miami Chapter of theAssociation of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as amicus curiae.Before SUAREZ, ROTHENBERG, and EMAS, JJ.ROTHENBERG, J.On May 17, 2006, this Court issued its opinion in Taylor v. State, 929 So. 2d665 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006), review denied, 952 So. 2d 1191 (Fla. 2007), rejectingTaylor’s facial constitutional challenge to section 893.13, Florida Statutes (2003),as amended by section 893.101, Florida Statutes (2003). Nearly five years later,the trial court below dismissed criminal felony charges against thirty-ninedefendants and issued a lengthy order attempting to justify its decision to ignoreTaylor, as well as other binding decisions from the district courts of appeal in thisstate, and instead, to adopt a contrary, non-binding decision issued by a federaltrial court judge. In reversing the order under review, we reject the trial court’scontention that the issues raised in the instant cases were not previously raised anddecided by this Court; reject the trial court’s conclusion that it was bound by thefederal trial court’s decision; and agree with counsel for both the appellant and theappellees that the trial court’s analysis and reasoning is flawed.
PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Section 893.13 prohibits the unauthorized possession, purchase, sale,manufacture, or delivery of a controlled substance; and the possession with intent
 
 3to purchase, sell, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance. In 2002, inresponse to the Florida Supreme Court’s interpretation of the statute in Chicone v.State, 684 So. 2d 736 (Fla. 1996), and later in Scott v. State, 808 So. 2d 166 (Fla.2002), in which it held that knowledge of the nature of the substance was anelement of these drug offenses, the Florida legislature enacted section 893.101.893.101
 
Legislative findings and intent.
(1)
 
The Legislature finds that the cases of 
Scott v. State
, SlipOpinion No. SC94701 (Fla. 2002) and
Chicone v. State
, 684 So.2d736 (Fla. 1996), holding that the state must prove that the defendantknew of the illicit nature of a controlled substance found in his or heractual or constructive possession, were contrary to legislative intent.(2)
 
The Legislature finds that knowledge of the illicit nature of a controlled substance is not an element of any offense under thischapter. Lack of knowledge of the illicit nature of a controlledsubstance is an affirmative defense to the offenses of this chapter.(3)
 
In those instances in which a defendant asserts theaffirmative defense described in this section, the possession of acontrolled substance, whether actual or constructive, shall give rise toa permissive presumption that the possessor knew of the illicit natureof the substance. It is the intent of the Legislature that, in those caseswhere such an affirmative defense is raised, the jury shall be instructedon the permissive presumption provided in this subsection.After the legislature’s clarification of its legislative intent, that knowledge of the nature of the substance is not an element of the offense, but rather anaffirmative defense that may be raised by the defendant, constitutional due processchallenges were raised and ultimately rejected by the appellate courts across thestate. See e.g., Williams v. State, 45 So. 3d 14 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010); Johnson v.State, 37 So. 3d 975 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010); Harris v. State, 932 So. 2d 551 (Fla. 1st

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