Do Florida Courts Have the Right to Try a Defendant If An Essential Element of the Crime Occured Within the State ?
In Keen v. State, 504 So. 2d 396 (Fla. 1987), the court rested Florida courts' jurisdiction upon the following:
Keen's first claim here is that Florida is without jurisdiction to try him for this murder.
According to Keen's theory, because the murder was committed on the high seas outside Florida's territorial jurisdiction, the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction to try him for this crime by virtue of 18 U.S.C. 7.
In Lane v. State, 388 So. 2d 1022 (Fla. 1980) the court faced with the factual situation wherein the charged offense, first-degree murder, was commenced in Florida and concluded in Alabama.
Recognizing that the fatal blow to the victim was probably struck in Alabama, we held that pursuant to section 910.005(2), Florida Statutes (1977), Florida had jurisdiction to try the defendant. Id. at 1026.
We reasoned that when one of the essential elements of the offense occurs in Florida, Florida courts have the power to try the defendant; whether an essential element of the offense occurred within the state is a factual question to be determined by the jury under appropriate instructions. Id. at 1028.
Sub judice, it is clear from the record that the essential element of premeditation occurred within Florida.
The jury was properly instructed by the trial court that in order to return a verdict of guilty, they must find that an essential element of the crime occurred within the state. 504 So. 2d at 398-99 (emphasis added).