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Porter v. State

Supreme Court of Florida
88 So.2d 924 (1956)


Facts

Harvey Porter (defendant) was driving north on a country road at a speed of 60 to 65 miles per hour. There was no evidence in the record establishing the speed limit in the area; the court thus assumed that the speed limit was 60 miles per hour. Porter reached an intersection that was marked with a stop sign 112 feet from the intersection. The word “stop” was also painted on the road. There was no evidence that Porter had ever travelled on this road. The victim was driving west and reached the same intersection. The street on which the victim was travelling was marked with only a “slow” sign. Porter drove through the intersection without stopping. His vehicle struck the victim’s vehicle. The victim died as a result. A jury convicted Porter of manslaughter, and Porter appealed. On appeal, the court upheld the conviction, holding that Porter’s action in running the stop sign at a high rate of speed was culpable negligence and thus met the requirements of manslaughter. Under state law, culpable negligence meant negligence of a gross and flagrant character that evinced a reckless disregard of human life or reckless indifference to the rights of others. The dissent held that Porter’s negligence supported only a damage action, not a manslaughter conviction. Porter was granted a rehearing.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Connell, J.)

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