Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

FSS 777 Principal Accessory Solicitation Attempt And Entrapment


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Good morning and welcome to Florida Criminal Law TV’s special look at the Florida statutes. I’m your host, criminal defense attorney Stephen G. Cobb.

Today, we are going to look at Florida statute 777 which covers four very important areas of law every criminal defense lawyer should know.

First, there is the law of Principals under Florida statute section 777.011. A Principal is anyone person who helps another commit a felony or a misdemeanor, even if they were not physically present when the crime was committed.

More specifically, the law states that anyone who:

  • Aids
  • Abets
  • Counsels
  • Hires
  • “and otherwise procures”

is considered a Principal under Florida law and may be “charged, convicted and punished”.

An example of how this law works can be explained with a true story from a case in the panhandle. Three people went to a store, two went in and came out. While inside of the store, one of the two took out a gun and killed the clerk.

All three were prosecuted for death penalty murder. The driver of the car claimed he had no idea the other two had planned to rob the store and the guy who went into the store but was not the trigger man claimed he had no knowledge that the trigger man even had a gun.

All three were convicted, two of them as Principals probably because the jury believed they knew they were taking part in a robbery.

You may ask, what is the difference between being a principal and an accessory after-the-fact? Good question!

Our next topic today is going to be Florida statute section 777.03, accessory after-the-fact.

Accessory after-the-fact has a very long history of Florida. The first statutory reference to it is as far back as 1868. It has been amended numerous times, the most recent one was in 2006. As it stands today, Florida statutes section 777.03, accessory after-the-fact, only contains two enumerated sections.

Based upon the language of Sub-section 1, the prosecution is given a great amount of discretion because they can file an information or indictment against someone for either Florida statute 777.03 or the principal statute 776. This is yet another example of where the Florida legislature in titles is section of law such as here, accessory after-the-fact, yet it also includes just the opposite: this section of statute goes into length about the fact that someone can be an accessory before the fact.

Even more puzzling is the list of people who are granted exceptions under this law. Accessory after-the-fact under section 777.03(1)(a) specifically excludes a husband, a wife, a parent, a grandparent, a child, a grandchild, a brother, his sister, and anyone who “by consanguinity or affinity to the offender“.

Finally, the second enumerated section of this particular statute regarding accessory after-the-fact prosecutions, strictly discusses the penalties. The penalties for accessory after-the-fact range from misdemeanor probation level sanctions all the way up to the maximum penalty for a first-degree felony. The formula for determining an exact sentence requires everything from a felony punishment score sheet to more specific knowledge about the type of offense charged and whether any reductions or substitutions of charge are possible.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Principal Accessory Solicitation Attempt & Entrapment, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 423-0035 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (850) 423-0035

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