Robbery and the Use of Force

In the case of C.B.B. versus the State of Florida, a child with the initials "C.B.B." was found guilty of the crime of robbery based upon the following facts:

C.B.B. and two of his friends were accused of robbing another middle schooler of his bicycle. According to that middle schooler, he was riding his bicycle when one of C.B.B.'s friends grabbed his handlebars. C .B.B. then hit the bicyclist in the back of the head. The bicyclist ran away leaving his bike behind. When he later returned to that same area with his mother, his bicycle was gone. It was located the next day. C.B.B. and his two friends were charged with robbery. At his trial, C.B.B. said that he punched the bicyclist because he had previously spit a mouthful of water in C.B.B.'s face after losing a basketball game. C.B.B. also testified that the bicyclist threw rocks at him and verbally taunted him prior to C.B.B. knocking him off his bicycle. C.B.B. also said that he did not take the bicycle and that he never intended to take the bike.

C.B.B. was found guilty of robbery at trial, and he appealed.

The court of appeals stated that in Florida, robbery is defined as "the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear."

But in this case, the force used by C.B.B. was not in furtherance of a plan to steal the bicycle. Furthermore, no evidence was presented at C.B.B.'s trial that he ever intended to take the bike. Even the bicyclist himself testified that he and C.B.B. had had a previous argument and that the blow to the back of his head had nothing to do with his bicycle. Therefore, the court of appeals reversed C.B.B.'s conviction for robbery.

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