What Is the Legal Defination of ''Attempt'' As Established by the Court ?
In Thomas v. State, this Court provided the following definition of attempt:
Essentially, we have required the state to prove two general elements to establish an attempt: a specific intent to commit a particular crime, and an overt act toward its commission.
That is, the overt act must manifest the specific intent. 531 So. 2d 708, 710 (Fla. 1988).
It would appear that this definition of attempt would make the crime a specific intent crime because the State would be required to establish that the defendant had a specific intent to commit the underlying offense.
The Thomas court relied on the definition of attempt that was articulated by this Court in Gustine v. State, 86 Fla. 24, 26, 97 So. 207, 208 (1923).
The Gustine definition of attempt had been the standard prior to Gentry. Arguably, Thomas can be reconciled with Gentry because the underlying offense in Thomas was burglary.
Because burglary is a specific intent crime, see Richardson v. State, 723 So. 2d 910, 911 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), then, under Gentry, attempted burglary would also be classified as a specific intent crime, and the Thomas court relied on the proper definition of attempt.
However, in Rogers v. State, this Court again relied on the same definition of attempt:
"To establish attempt, the State must prove a specific intent to commit a particular crime and an overt act toward the commission of that crime." 660 So. 2d 237, 241 (Fla. 1995).
In Rogers, the underlying offense was sexual battery, which has been declared a general intent crime. See Buford v. State, 492 So. 2d 355, 359 (Fla. 1986).
Thus, the Rogers court classified attempted sexual battery as a specific intent crime, but according to the Gentry analysis, it should have been a general intent crime.
In 1991 and again in 1993, this Court stated that attempted sexual battery was a general intent crime. See Sochor v. State, 580 So. 2d 595, 601 (Fla. 1991), vacated on other grounds, 504 U.S. 527, 112 S. Ct. 2114, 119 L. Ed. 2d 326 (1992); Sochor v. State, 619 So. 2d 285, 290 (Fla. 1993).
But in 1997, this Court again cited to Rogers and stated that in order to prove attempted sexual battery, the State must prove "a specific intent to commit a particular crime." See Gudinas v. State, 693 So. 2d 953, 962 (Fla. 1997).
Finally, in State v. Gray, 654 So. 2d 552 (Fla. 1995), this Court adopted Justice Overton's dissent in Amlotte v. State, 456 So. 2d 448 (Fla. 1984) (Overton, J., dissenting), wherein he argued that the crime of attempted felony murder was logically impossible.
The Gray court quoted the following language from Justice Overton's dissent:
"A conviction for the offense of attempt requires proof of the specific intent to commit the underlying crime." Gray, 654 So. 2d at 553.