The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
SmithJoseph 89950012th Circuit PDCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
4/20/2006FSC06-747Direct Appeal filed
1/2/2008FSC06-747Initial brief filed
3/11/2008FSC06-747Answer brief filed
6/16/2008FSC06-747Reply brief filed
1/7/2009FSC06-747Oral Arguments held
12/17/2009FSC06-747FSC affirmed conviction and sentence
12/31/2009FSC06-747Motion for Rehearing filed
2/18/2010FSC06-747Motion for Rehearing denied
3/8/2010FSC06-747Mandate issued
5/10/2010USSC09-10755Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed
6/14/2010USSC09-10755Response filed
8/18/2010USSC09-10755Reply brief filed

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
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The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates thisinformation regularly.  This information; however, is subject to change and maynot reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied uponfor statistical or legal purposes. 


SMITH, Joseph P. (W/M)

DC# 899500

DOB: 03/17/66


­­­Twelfth Judicial Circuit, Sarasota County Case # 04-02129

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Andrew Owens

Attorney, Trial: Adam Tebrugge – Public Defender’s Office

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Deborah K. Brueckheimer – PublicDefender’s Office


Date of Offense: 02/01/04

Date of Sentence: 03/15/06


Circumstances of Offense:


On 02/01/04, CarlieBrucia, an 11 year-old female, left her friend’s house at approximately 6:00p.m. to walk home. The friend’s mother called Carlie’s mother to make sureCarlie had permission to walk home alone. She was not allowed to do so;therefore, her stepfather came to pick her up, but she had already left. A callto 911 was made around 7:30 p.m. after they could not locate Carlie. Aroundnoon the following day, a bloodhound found Carlie’s scent behind a car wash,but the scent could not be detected beyond that area. Motion-sensitive camerasoutside the car wash revealed that Carlie was taken away from the car wash at6:21 p.m. by a man dressed in a mechanic’s uniform.


An Amber Alert was issuedand a video of the abduction was released on the evening of 02/02/04. The nextmorning the wife of a former business associate of Smith recognized the man inthe video as Smith. Her husband also confirmed that it looked like Smith. Theycalled the police and directed Detective Vincent Riva to Smith’s currentaddress.


Riva and his partner wentto Smith’s address where they were met by two other officers. A neighborinformed them that someone was in the residence; however, no one answered thedoor. Since a call to Riva’s supervisor revealed that Smith was on probation,Smith’s probation officer was called to the scene. After the officers hadwaited 40 minutes to enter the residence, Smith’s sister arrived and said shewould get her brother.


Smith exited the houseand was interrogated regarding his whereabouts during the time Carlie had beenabducted. He stated he had not been near the car wash on 02/01/04. When showeda picture of the man at the car wash with Carlie, he said it looked like him,but was not him.


As the police performed asearch on Smith’s car, the owner of the house where Smith lived arrived. Shestated that Smith was talking on the phone with his wife around 6:30 p.m. on02/01/04. This information “temporarily cleared” Smith, because it establishedan alibi. Later that day, however, the husband of the woman who establishedSmith’s alibi informed the detectives that she provided the wrong information.Smith was not talking on the phone around 6:30. Smith had actually borrowedtheir yellow station wagon around 3 p.m. on 02/01/04 and did not return ituntil approximately 7 a.m. the following day. He also confirmed that the man inthe car wash video was Smith. Smith was subsequently arrested.


On the evening of02/04/04, FBI agents interviewed Smith’s brother, John Smith. He said he hadreceived a call from Smith on the night of the abduction, but did not speakwith him. The next evening, John and his girlfriend saw the car wash video thatshowed the abduction and recognized Smith in the video. Smith showed up attheir house that evening around 11 p.m., supposedly under the influence ofdrugs. His brother did not allow him to come in.


On 02/05/04, Smith metwith John and their mother in a interview room provided by the Sarasota CountySheriff’s Office. Afterwards, John commented that Smith came close toconfessing. John called the FBI agent later that evening after he received acall from Smith. Smith had provided him with information about Carlie’s murder.John directed two FBI agents to an area behind a local church where they shouldlook for a body. Smith called John while the agents were at the church andconfirmed that Carlie’s body was approximately 50 yards from a group of concreteblocks in the field. Carlie’s body was eventually found in a wooded area in thefield, lying on her back and naked below the waist, with the exception of asock on her right foot. There was a deep ligature mark visible on her neck.


John spoke on the phonewith Smith later that night. Smith admitted to having sexual contact withCarlie before he strangled her. The Sarasota County medical examiner confirmedthat Carlie died of strangulation and had been sexually battered beforehand.The FBI found DNA evidence on Carlie’s shirt that matched Smith. Also, two ofher head hairs were found in the yellow station wagon that Smith had borrowed.




Additional Information:


Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:


Prior Prison History: (Note: Data reflected covers periods of incarceration with the Florida Dept.of Corrections since January of 1983)

Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Prison Sentence Length






1Y 4M 24D






1Y 4M 24D






1Y 4M 24D






1Y 4M 24D




Trial Summary:


02/20/04          Indictedas follows:

                                    CountI:           Cocaine Possession

                                    CountII:         First-Degree Murder (Carlie Brucia)

                                    CountIII:        Sexual Battery

                                    CountIV:        Kidnapping

11/17/05          Juryreturned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

12/01/05          Juryrecommended death by a vote of 10-2.

03/15/06          Sentencedas follows:

                                    CountI:           Cocaine Possession – 5 years

                                    CountII:         First-Degree Murder (Carlie Brucia) – Death

                                    CountIII:        Sexual Battery – Life

                                    CountIV:        Kidnapping – Life


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 06-747

28So.3d 838


04/20/06          Appealfiled

01/07/09          OralArguments held

12/17/09          FSCaffirmed conviction and sentence

12/31/09          Motionfor Rehearing filed

02/18/10          Motionfor Rehearing denied

03/08/10          Mandateissued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 09-10755



05/10/10          Petitionfiled






Case Information:

On 04/20/06, Smith fileda Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court, citing the following issues: (1)the appellant’s federal constitutional right to confront was violated when theState was allowed to introduce DNA lab results without the testimony of theperson who conducted the tests and obtained the results, (2) the trial courterred in allowing the medical examiner to give an opinion that was beyond hiscompetence and invaded the province of the jury as to whether the victim hadbeen sexually assaulted, (3) the trial court erred in not suppressing theappellant’s brother’s statements concerning the appellant’s statements becausethe brother was acting as an agent of the State, (4) the trial court erred indenying the appellant’s counsel’s challenges for cause, (5) the trial courterred in allowing the State to introduce gruesome and shocking photographs thathad no or little relevance, (6) the trial court erred when it impermissiblydoubled the following sentencing aggravators: the murder was committed duringthe course of the felony of sexual battery on a child under 12 and the murderwas committed on a victim under 12, (7) the aggravator of the victim beingunder 12 years old is unconstitutional, (8) the trial court erred in findingthe aggravating factor that the murder was committed in order to avoid arrest,(9) the trial court erred in finding the aggravating factor that the murder was“cold, calculated, and premeditated,” (10) the trial court erred in ruling thatthe State could cross-examine the appellant’s mother and sister on highlyprejudicial and irrelevant acts that occurred between the appellant and hissister, if the mother and/or sister testified on behalf of the appellant at thepenalty phase, (11) the trial court erred in refusing to allow the appellantthe Right of Allocution Before the Jury after the jury asked about the appellantmaking a statement of allocution, (12) Section 775.051, Fla Statute (2003),which abolished the defense of voluntary intoxication and excludes evidence ofa defendant’s voluntary intoxication under some but not all circumstances,violates due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, and (13) Florida’s capitalsentencing scheme, which emphasized the role of the circuit judge over thetrial jury in the decision to impose a sentence of death, is unconstitutionalunder Ring V. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002).  Oral Arguments were held on01/07/09. The Florida State Supreme Court affirmed Smith’s conviction andsentence on 12/17/09. Smith filed a Motion for Rehearing on 12/31/09, and itwas denied on 02/18/10. A mandate was issued on 03/08/10.


A Petition for Writ ofCertiorari was filed in the United States Supreme Court on 05/10/10. This caseis pending.



Institutional Adjustment:

Information unavailableat this time.



Report Date:   01/14/10          EMJ

Approved:       01/14/10          RM

Updated:         05/25/10          EMJ