Mathis v. Florida

Brief in Support of Appellant by Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Brief filed: 06/29/2015


Mathis v. Florida

District Court of Appeal of Florida; Case No. 5D14-492


The trial court erred in barring the defense from introducing evidence to support the basis for the legal opinion Mathis gave to his client. Ambiguity in the statute with regard to mens rea requires the court to insert an appropriate state of mind element. The "knowledge" element of an offense occasionally includes knowledge of a legal "fact." The trial court improperly removed the mens rea element in this case. In the alternative, a mistake of law defense was appropriate in this case. Denying Mathis the right to present this evidence resulted in the denial of his right to present a defense.

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Donald F. Samuel, Garland, Samuel & Loeb, P.C., Atlanta, GA; Jenny E. Carroll, University of Alabama School of Law, Tuscaloosa, AL; Ashley Litwin, Miami FL.