Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Obtains Reversal of Teen’s Trespassing Conviction

As we continue our exploration of juvenile, criminal trespassing in Miami-Dade County we turn to the Florida Supreme Court’s recent decision on D.J. v. State were they reversed the conviction of a youth who was accused of trespassing upon a public school. D.J.’s criminal defense attorney asserted that the Prosecution failed to show an essential element of trespassing at a school, which is governed by Florida Statute § 810.097. Specifically, the government failed to establish that the security guard that advised D.J. to leave the school was authorized by the principal to remove people from the property.
Obviously, it is different being accused of trespassing on a piece of public property than a piece of private property. For this very reason the legislature of the State of Florida has enacted a specific statute for the trespass of an individual upon a school ground. A school is neither wholly private nor quite public. Thus, when a person enters the ground the school principal has the right to eject that person. However, not just anyone can make you leave school property. Only the principal or his direct representative is authorized to do that.
In the D.J. case the State never established that the security guard was authorized by the principal to remove people from campus. Sadly, the case had to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Florida to establish the importance of this fact. Ultimately the perseverance of the youth’s criminal defense attorney prevailed on this incredibly picayune point of law.