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Florida (2007)

Simpson v. State (2019, Florida) LEXIS 10984, Unpublished

Defendant was charged with aggravated assault for shooting her boyfriend

Defense was suffering from battered woman syndrome (“BWS).

The victim  feared for her safety. History of DV, sexual assault and strangulation. Moved out. Purchased a gun to protect herself.

Day of the shooting, she saw a ”look in his eyes” and shot him as he approached her.

Dr. Ewing, forensic psychologist, evaluated the victim and determined she suffered from BWS.

Defense efforts to voir dire on BWS was denied.

The defendant found guilty. Sentence to 25 years in prison.

Reversed and remanded for new trial.

Lopez-Macaya v. State (2019) 278 So. 3d 248

The defendant was convicted of felony domestic battery by strangulation and misdemeanor assault and LIO of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The defendant was sentenced to five years and 60 days.

The defendant appealed on sufficiency to prove great bodily injury.  Upheld on appeal.

Defendant held a knife to the victim’s neck and threatened to kill her. He dragged her to the bedroom and strangled her. The victim could not breathe. The victim believed he was going to kill her. The defendant prevented her from calling 911 and strangled her 2x.

Officers pulled the defendant off the victim. The defendant claimed they were just having sex.

The victim sought medical attention the next day. She had trouble breathing and swallowing, and her head and neck were swollen.  Even three years later, at the time of the trial, the victim had trouble swallowing.

The defendant’s actions created a risk of great bodily injury.  No need to prove actual great bodily injury.

US v. Moss (2017) 678 Fed. Appx. 953, Unpublished

Court found prior conviction for domestic battery by strangulation was a “violent felony” within the meaning of Armed Career Criminal Act subjecting the defendant to mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years for possession of firearm.

The defendant appealed as unreasonable. Defendant claimed the required force needed to either block blood flow or air flow is not sufficiently violent – it’s just slight pressure.

But the law does not cover mere touching. Rather the force required is to create a risk of great bodily harm capable of causing pain or injury to another person.

Johnson v. State, 969 So.2d 938, 956-957 (Fla. 2007)

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that strangulation of a conscious victim transforms a murder into a death penalty offense because it is per se “heinous, atrocious and cruel.”

Strangulation is cruel act, with far-reaching consequences. “The particular cruelty of the offense and its potential effects upon a victim both physically and psychologically, merit its categorization and a ranked felony offense…”

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