When is a Fork a Deadly Weapon?

          In the case of C.A.C. v. State of Florida, the Second District Court of Appeal was asked to decide whether a fork is a deadly weapon in a case in which the accused individual was charged with committing the crime of aggravated battery.

          The accused, who was ten years old, stabbed another child two or three times in the back with a fork which resulted in the other child having swelling, scratches, and puncture marks.  The child who was stabbed did not receive medical treatment for his injuries.

          The appellate court first had to determine if the victim in C.A.C.'s case suffered great bodily harm since a person commits aggravated battery if he causes great bodily harm while committing the crime of battery.  The appellate court ruled that because great bodily harm is more than simply moderate harm such as mere bruising, the victim in this case did not suffer great bodily harm.

          However, the court still had to decide whether the fork that was used in this case qualified as a deadly weapon since a person can also commit aggravated battery if he uses a deadly weapon.  The court first noted that forks are designed to be used for eating and not for causing great bodily harm.  Furthermore, the fork in this particular case did not cause great bodily harm; it instead caused swelling, scratches, and puncture marks which did not require medical treatment.

          Accordingly, the appellate court found that the evidence was insufficient to convict C.A.C. of aggravated battery.  However, it was sufficient to convict him of simply battery.

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