August Case Law Update, Every Third Thursday

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CFACDL Monthly Case Law Update

A summary of cases reviewed for our members, by our members
Delivered to you every Third Thursday

Special thanks to CFACDL Director David Varet for his contributions

 A SNEAK PEEK . . . 

RuleWhether the victim actually testifies that he or she was in fear is not conclusive of the fear element of section 784.011, as long as a reasonable person would experience a well-founded fear of imminent harm.
CitationDaniels v. State, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D1380a (Fla. 1st DCA 2020)
SummaryOne common myth believed by many attorney and defendant is “no face, no case”: that in a use of force case, a victim’s testimony is required to establish that the touching was unwanted or the defendant was in subject fear. Neither of these are true, as both can be proved by eyewitness testimony. As to battery, circumstantial evidence from third party witnesses is admissible to prove victim’s lack of consent to simple battery. Clyatt v. State, 976 So. 2d 1182 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008). As to assault, the state may prove the “well-grounded fear” element of assault through circumstantial evidence by third party witness(es). L.R.W. v. State, 848 So. 2d 1263 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003).

This case furthered the holding in L.R.W. to find that third-party witness testimony can establish that a victim had “well-grounded fear” even if the victim testifies he or she did not.