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This case was before the Court for review of the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal in Bonilla v. State. The district court certified that its decision was in direct conflict with the decision of the First District Court of Appeal in Montgomery v. State. The court held that the district court's reliance upon Zeigler v. State was inconsistent with the court's reasoning in Montgomery and the court's conclusion that the use of the erroneous manslaughter by act instruction constituted fundamental error that required reversal of Montgomery's conviction for second-degree murder. Accordingly, the court accepted jurisdiction and granted the petition for review.Receive FREE Daily Opinion Summaries by Email
Supreme Court of Florida
STATE OF FLORIDA,
[October 27, 2011]
This case is before the Court for review of the decision of the Third District
Court of Appeal in Bonilla v. State, 23 So. 3d 1256 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009). The
district court certified that its decision is in direct conflict with the decision of the
First District Court of Appeal in Montgomery v. State, 34 Fla. L. Weekly D360
(Fla. 1st DCA 2009). We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const.
We previously accepted jurisdiction in Montgomery and stayed proceedings
in Bonilla pending disposition of Montgomery. In State v. Montgomery, 39 So. 3d
252 (Fla. 2010), we held that because defendant Montgomery, who was convicted
of second-degree murder, was entitled to an accurate jury instruction on the
necessarily lesser included offense of manslaughter by act, the use of the thenstandard jury instruction on manslaughter by act constituted fundamental reversible
error in his case because it erroneously required the jury to find that the defendant
intentionally caused the death of the victim. We then affirmed the district court’s
reversal of Montgomery’s conviction for second-degree murder. We subsequently
issued an order in Bonilla directing the State to show cause why we should not
accept jurisdiction, summarily quash the decision under review, and remand for
reconsideration in light of our decision in Montgomery.
Upon review of the parties’ responses and the decision below, we conclude
that the district court’s reliance upon Zeigler v. State, 18 So. 3d 1239 (Fla. 2d DCA
2009), is inconsistent with our reasoning in Montgomery and our conclusion that
the use of the erroneous manslaughter by act instruction constituted fundamental
error that required reversal of Montgomery’s conviction for second-degree murder.
Accordingly, we accept jurisdiction and grant the petition for review. The decision
below is quashed, and this matter is remanded to the Third District Court of Appeal
for reconsideration upon application of our decision in Montgomery.
It is so ordered.
CANADY, C.J., and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, POLSTON, and PERRY, JJ.,
NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION, AND
IF FILED, DETERMINED.
Application for Review of the Decision of the District Court of Appeal - Certified
Direct Conflict of Decisions
Third District - Case No. 3D09-3209
Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Gwendolyn Powell Braswell and Andrew
M. Stanton, Assistant Public Defenders, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami, Florida,
Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, Richard L. Polin, Bureau
Chief, and Natalia Costea, Assistant Attorney Generals, Miami, Florida,