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Florida Disciplinary Record Must Prove Constructive Possession of Contraband

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal granted a writ of certiorari to a prisoner who challenged a circuit court’s denial of his mandamus petition that sought to reverse a prison disciplinary conviction. The First District held there was insufficient proof in the record to find the prisoner guilty of constructive possession of contraband.

The basis of the contraband charge against state prisoner Terry D. Bujno was that a pornographic magazine was found hidden in a squad cart that Bujno was riding in along with another prisoner and two staff members. Bujno argued in administrative hearings and to the circuit court that there was no evidence he had hidden the contraband or was even aware of its existence. Moreover, because the cart was kept in an unsecured area and was readily accessible to a large number of prisoners and staff, the evidence was insufficient to establish constructive possession.

After citing the law on constructive possession, the Court of Appeal found the circuit court had departed from the essential elements of law by failing to issue an order to show cause that would establish an adequate record of the disciplinary proceeding and the evidence considered by the disciplinary team to determine if Bujno had constructive possession of the contraband.

Thus, the circuit court’s order was quashed and the case remanded for further proceedings. See: Bujno v. Department of Corrections, 1 So.3d 1138 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 2009).

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Related legal case

Bujno v. Department of Corrections