The State requests certiorari review of an order of the circuit court, sitting in its appellate capacity, which vacated a county court order denying Juan Caamano's amended motion to dismiss filed pursuant to section 776.032, Florida Statutes (2010). Because the circuit court departed from the essential requirements of the law in vacating the county court's order, we grant the petition and quash the circuit court's order.
The State alleged the following facts. As a street party was dispersing in Lake Hamilton in October 2010, one individual refused to comply with police orders to exit the street. An officer physically engaged the individual by escorting him to a grassy area beside the roadway and taking him to the ground, but the individual resisted. Two other officers assisted in detaining the individual by delivering knee and hand strikes and using a taser to "drive stun" him.
While the individual was face down on the ground after having been beaten and tased by a group of law enforcement officers, Caamano, an on-duty Haines City Police Officer, approached the men. Caamano raised his right foot and "br[ought] it down in a stomping motion" towards the individual's legs, saying "put your hands behind your back" as he did so. The State alleged specifically that Caamano's actions did not assist the other officers with bringing the individual into custody, and that the detained individual did not exhibit any active resistance toward Caamano. Instead, the State alleged that "his stomp served no purpose other than to bring unjustified and unnecessary force to [the individual], who was already engaged by three other officers." Caamano was charged with attempted battery, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Caamano moved to dismiss the charge, alleging immunity pursuant to section 776.05, Florida Statutes (2010), which provides qualified immunity for a law enforcement officer's use of force in making an arrest. He later amended his motion to allege instead that he is immune from criminal prosecution pursuant to section 776.032, Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. After receiving supplemental briefing and holding multiple hearings, the county
Caamano then petitioned the circuit court for a writ of prohibition, arguing that because section 776.032 does not expressly exclude law enforcement officers from its protection, Caamano is entitled to invoke the protection of either statute. The circuit court granted Caamano's petition, finding that "there is nothing in the law that prevents [Caamano] from asserting immunity pursuant to Section 776.032." The circuit court's order vacated the county court's order and directed the county court to conduct an evidentiary hearing pursuant to section 776.032. The State timely filed a petition for writ of certiorari, arguing that the circuit court departed from the essential requirements of the law.
A three-pronged test must be satisfied in order to grant certiorari relief: "A petitioner must establish (1) a departure from the essential requirements of the law, (2) resulting in material injury for the remainder of the trial (3) that cannot be corrected on postjudgment appeal." Parkway Bank v. Fort Myers Armature Works, Inc., 658 So.2d 646, 648 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995). A district court reviewing an order from a circuit court acting in its appellate capacity assesses the departure prong by determining whether the circuit court afforded procedural due process and whether it applied the correct law. Haines City Cmty. Dev. v. Heggs, 658 So.2d 523, 530 (Fla.1995).
Section 776.032(1), provides in relevant part:
In contrast, section 776.05, titled "Law enforcement officers; use of force in making an arrest," provides:
In construing a statute, a court's purpose "is to give effect to legislative intent, which is the polestar that guides the court in statutory construction." Larimore v. State, 2 So.3d 101, 106 (Fla.2008). In order to determine legislative intent, one must first look to the actual wording of the statute and give it its appropriate meaning. See id. Then, the doctrine of in pari materia applies. Id. This doctrine "is a principle of statutory construction that requires that statutes relating to the same subject or object be construed together to harmonize the statutes and to give effect to the Legislature's intent." Fla. Dep't of State, Div. of Elections v. Martin, 916 So.2d 763, 768 (Fla.2005). Consequently, "related statutory provisions must be read together to achieve a consistent whole," and "`[w]here possible, courts must give full effect to all statutory provisions and construe related statutory provisions in harmony with one another.'" Woodham
Further, when construing multiple statutes addressing similar subjects, the specific statute controls over the general. In Mendenhall v. State, 48 So.3d 740, 748 (Fla.2010), the Florida Supreme Court identified that
(Quoting McDonald v. State, 957 So.2d 605, 610 (Fla.2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted). To hold otherwise would render the specific language meaningless. See Mendenhall, 48 So.3d at 749.
Here, the State argues that the circuit court, acting in its appellate capacity, departed from the essential requirements of the law by applying the incorrect law. Specifically, the State argues that by ordering the county court to conduct an evidentiary hearing under section 776.032, the Stand Your Ground statute, rather than proceeding under section 776.05, the statute specific to law enforcement, the circuit court stripped section 776.05 of meaning. We agree.
A Florida state court has yet to directly address this issue.
But the remainder of that paragraph, which Caamano does not address, reads as follows:
Id. Accordingly, this court is not precluded from granting a petition for writ of certiorari where the trial court's decision is fundamentally erroneous.
Addressing the merits, the circuit court departed from the essential requirements
Upon such a review, it is evident that if Caamano is entitled to any immunity under either statute in this case, then such protection must flow from section 776.05. We hold that the specific language of section 776.05, titled "Law enforcement officers; use of force in making an arrest," must apply to the behavior of law enforcement officers during the course of an arrest, rather than the language of section 776.032, which applies generally to the public at large. We agree with the State's argument that holding otherwise would render the specific statute meaningless. See Mendenhall, 48 So.3d at 749. Accordingly, we grant the petition, quash the order of the circuit court, and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Petition granted; order quashed.
DAVIS and MORRIS, JJ., Concur.