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Holland v. State

    Citation. 302 So. 2d 806,1974 Fla. App.

    Brief Fact Summary. Defendant was charged with the common law crime of Misprison of felony, which although not a statutory offense is a common law crime.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. There is no crime of Misprison for failure to report a felony.

    Facts. Defendant was a city manager. On the day in question, while trying to find his assistant, he went to his assistant’s house. While at the house, he noticed several marijuana plants. Defendant contacted the Captain of the Police and went back to confront his assistant. After his assistant’s resignation, the Police and Defendant determined to handle it as an internal affair and avoid any prosecution. Defendant relayed this decision to other city officials and press. Defendant was charted with the common law crime of Misprison of felony.

    Issue. Whether there exists the crime of Misprison of felony.

    Held. The crime of Misprison is not a crime in the state of Florida.
    Misprison is defined as the communal responsibility to apprehend felons.

    It may be the duty of a citizen to accuse every offender and to proclaim every offense within his knowledge, but the law which would punish him in every case for not performing this duty, is too harsh.


    Discussion. The Court ruled that while it is good to have citizens involved in law enforcement, it is inappropriate to punish them when they choose not to become involved. Americans have a right to seclude themselves and choose which crimes to report. The Court also noted that this crime had place years ago but is now unnecessary.


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