Nettles v. State, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D1103c (1st DCA May 17, 2013): Defendant charged with charged with carjacking with a firearm or a deadly weapon, robbery armed with a firearm, and armed kidnapping with a weapon. Jury found him guilty, but did not make any finding that the defendant used a firearm. Nonetheless, the judge adjudicated him guilty of the crimes with the firearm. The Florida appeals court held (emphasis by author):
A verdict which is factually inconsistent is permissible in Florida as it results from a jury’s inherent authority to acquit. Thus, for example, a jury’s verdict finding a defendant guilty of aggravated fleeing and eluding and attempted assault charges is permissible even though such a result is factually inconsistent with a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity on other charges arising from the same incident. State v. Cappalo, 932 So. 2d 331 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006).
A verdict which is legally inconsistent, however, cannot stand. See Shavers v. State, 86 So. 3d 1218 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012). Such a verdict occurs when a “not-guilty finding on one count negates an element on another count that is necessary for conviction.” Id. at 1221. Here, the jury’s finding that Nettles did not possess a firearm negated the possession element necessary for conviction of carjacking with a firearm, section 812.133(2)(a), and robbery with a firearm, section 812.13(2)(a), Florida Statutes (2011).
Accordingly, the trial court erred in adjudicating Nettles guilty of carjacking with a firearm and robbery with a firearm.
Reversed for the defendant to be resentenced. NOTE: I am not sure what rule of court would have been used to attack the blatantly illegal sentence in this case. I check the Escambia county clerk of court website, and no post-trial motion was filed. The issue was dealt with directly on appeal.