Case Involving Shooting at Florida Courthouse

In Provenzano v. State, 497 So. 2d 1177 (Fla. 1986), the defendant planned to kill two police officers who had arrested him for disorderly conduct. Armed with three loaded guns, Provenzano went to the courthouse for his trial. A bailiff was instructed to search him, but when Provenzano reached into his pocket, the bailiff started to grab him and Provenzano shot the bailiff in the face. Provenzano then chased and fired at least two shots at a corrections officer. Hearing the shooting, a bailiff from an adjacent courtroom heard the shots and ran into the hallway. Provenzano shot and killed him. Id. at 1180. On appeal, Provenzano contended that the cold, calculated, and premeditated (CCP) factor did not apply because proof that he planned to kill the police officers who had arrested him was irrelevant to finding enhanced premeditation to kill the bailiff. The Court disagreed, finding that the heightened premeditation necessary for this circumstance "does not have to be directed toward the specific victim. Rather, as the statute indicates, if the murder was committed in a manner that was cold and calculated, the aggravating circumstance of heightened premeditation is applicable." Id. at 1183. Similarly, in Sweet v. State, 624 So. 2d 1138 (Fla. 1993), the defendant argued that the trial court erred in finding CCP where the victim was not the subject of the planning. In affirming the trial court's finding, we noted that "the key to this factor is the level of preparation, not the success or failure of the plan, and we therefore reject Sweet's argument that because there were survivors of the shooting this aggravator is not applicable." Id. at 1142.