Section 790.19 Florida Statute Example Case

In Johnson v. State, 436 So. 2d 248 (Fla. 5th DCA 1983), the panel affirmed without opinion the defendant's conviction under section 790.19, Fla. Stat. (2003). Johnson apparently circled a car while shooting at one of the passengers. Addressing the First District's opinion, Judge Cowart wrote: "The disjunctive adverbs, "wantonly or maliciously," refer to that mental condition which would naturally and in common experience be expected to be the attitude of one who, with reckless disregard of the potential deadly consequences, intentionally and for no good and lawful purpose discharges a firearm at, within or into an object known to contain, or to often contain, human beings, as distinguished from the lack of intent of one who accidently discharges a firearm or the mind and attitude of one who, without intending any wrong or harm, innocently shoots a firearm under apparently safe conditions. Inanimate objects, such as houses and cars, seldom so offend a person as to become the subject of a malicious and wanton attitude and of a wrath such as would cause one to shoot the object per se. Such rare occurrences could hardly have been what the statute was intended to proscribe." Johnson, 436 So. 2d at 249-50 (Cowart, J., concurring specially) . Judge Cowart concluded that "the statute does not require that the defendant's malevolent attitude be that of a specific intent and that intent be in the form of a specific intention to harm the object involved." Id. at 250.