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Felon in Possession Convictions Violate Double Jeopardy

Oct 22, 2013 | Sentencing

In Bell v. State, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2105b (Fla. 2nd DCA 2013), Bell sought review of his convictions and sentences for felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of ammunition. Bell contended that the dual convictions violated double jeopardy.

The Second District Court of Appeal agreed and found that both convictions could not stand. The applicable statute prohibited Bell’s possession of any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device. The statute did not define “any.” The Court stated that the word “any” is generally defined as “one, some, every, or all without specification.” The Court found that by definition, the word “any” was linguistically ambiguous.

The Second District Court of Appeal recognized that it was required to construe the statute in the manner most favorable to Bell, and stated that doing so prohibited his dual convictions. The Court reversed the Defendant’s dual convictions and remanded to the lower court for it to vacate one of the convictions and to resentence Bell.


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