Wow! The person needs to contact an attorney asap and provide more details to the attorney in order to get a proper legal opinion in this matter...A person can be charged with a crime if another person identifies them without any additional evidence. Under Florida law, there is also the possibility of being charged as a principal even though the person didn't directly commit the criminal act. The person concerned about being charged should not make any statements to ANYONE without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
One can be charged . That is not the same thing as being convicted.
The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.
Certainly this "person" shouldn't describe the facts of an alleged attempted murder on a website with public access. The things you describe are different forms of "evidence." Some evidence types are inherently weaker than others, but the state can certainly charge the crime. Whether or not they can prove it in court is another story. This "person" certainly needs an attorney.
In Tallahassee and the surrounding counties it is very easy to be charged with a crime based upon a single witness statement. This does not mean you will be convicted. Based upon what you have alluded to in your question, you, or whatever person you are referring to needs to talk to a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Feel free to contact my office for a free consultation, 850-224-4607. If you don't contact me, contact someone else in the local area today. The situation you have outlined could result in a life sentence, so you are going to need help.
Answer: It depends. First, I need to know what the specific "hearsay" statement(s) and who the declarent (person making the statement), the circumstances in time when the statement was made (during an exciting event as in a shooting) and to whom the statement is made and how it is being introduced against the defendant. Hearsay is an evidentiary term that has a number of exceptions and equally a number of exclusions. Attempted Murder means there is a person involved who is alive and not deceased, and from your facts another third party who is the identifying witness. Identity is a key element to any offense. The credibility of the identifying witness seems to be a critical issue in the above fact pattern. As a general proposition, a witness can always testify to what they have observed (whether accurate or inaccurate, truthful or untruthful), if determined as a matter of law to be admissible at trial (judges determine issues of law) then it will be up to the trier of fact (juries in Florida are the trier of fact, judges of the facts and determine what is credible and what is not credible) to determine whether the witness is accurate or inaccurate, truthful or untruthful. The question of charging or not charging is a legal issue which would require further facts to make a clear legal determination. The State Attorney in Florida State Courts makes the determination as an executive function whether to "charge" somone or seek a grand jury indictment. In Florida, our Constitution allows a person to be charged either by a charging document signed under oath by the State Attorney or designated Assistant State Attorney (commonly referred to as an information) or by indictment (which is handed down by a grand jury (note the grand jury is a tool of the prosecutor)). As to the others that were there and have not been charged will be subject to a different analysis based upon interaction (Accomplice, Principle, etc) and if criminally liable are subject to any applicable statute of limitation. Remember, being arrested starts the clock on Florida's Speedy Trial Rule but is not an "official charge" under our Florida Constitution. Based upon the limited facts it depends on whether the person charged has any criminal liability (i.e. did they actually do something illegal other than just being present or fail to do something) and what the specific circumstances were involving the alleged firearm that was never found and how the item was identified as a firearm and who possessed the firearm and in what manner.
Yes. In order to arrest someone on any charge, even one as serious as attempted murder, the police only need probable cause. This is a very low standard of proof. There may not even be evidence which is admissible in court, but that doesn't matter at this point.