Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order granting Milo Rose’s pro se motion to dismiss postconviction proceedings and discharge collateral counsel, holding that the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Rose’s postconviction waiver was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. Rose was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Bjorn Brunvand was later appointed to represent Rose. In 2005, Rose successfully moved to discharge Brunvand and represent himself in state court proceedings. Although counsel was not reappointed to represent Appellant in state court, in 2017, Brunvand, who represented Rose in federal court, filed a second successive postconviction motion on Rose’s behalf, and against Rose’s wishes, seeking relief pursuant to Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Rose sought to dismiss the postconviction proceedings and discharge Brunvand. After conducting the inquiry required by Durocher v. Singletary, 623 So. 2d 482 (Fla. 1993), the postconviction court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the postconviction court followed the procedures set forth in Durocher and Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851(i) and did not abuse its discretion in finding that Rose’s waiver was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. View "Rose v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s orders summarily denying Appellant’s fifth motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851 and 3.203. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder and armed burglary in 1982. In 1994, following a new penalty phase on resentencing, the jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of ten to two. The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s death sentence. In 2015, Appellant filed this postconviction motion seeking relief based on Hall v. Florida, 134 S. Ct. 1986 (2014), and Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002). Thereafter, Appellant filed an amended postconviction motion seeking additional relief based on Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016). The circuit court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s intellectual disability claim was foreclosed by the reasoning of the Supreme Court in Rodriguez v. State, an unpublished order; and (2) Appellant’s Hurst claim was foreclosed by the Court’s decision in Hitchcock v. State, 226 So. 3d 216 (Fla. 2017). View "Blanco v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s denial of Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851 seeking relief pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So.3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Appellant was sentenced to death following a jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of eleven to one. Appellant’s sentence of death became final in 1986. Appellant later sought relief pursuant to Hurst, without success. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Appellant’s sentence of death, and therefore, the postconviction court properly denied Appellant’s motion. View "Peede v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the Third District Court of Appeal’s decision in this case and remanded for reconsideration under the correct harmless error standard set forth in State v. DiGuilio, 491 So. 2d 1129 (Fla. 1986), holding that the Third District improperly departed from the DiGuilio standard. In DiGuilio, the Supreme Court set forth the test to be applied in determining whether an error is harmless. The Court thereafter reaffirmed the harmless error standard numerous times. In the instant case, the Third District departed from the DiGuilio standard. Consistent with precedent, the Supreme Court quashed the Third District’s decision and remanded for reconsideration under the correct standard. View "Rodriguez v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant’s convictions for aggravated assault, attempted sexual battery, and burglary with an assault or battery, which arose during a single criminal episode, did not violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. The Fourth District Court of appeal held that because burglary with an assault or battery does not necessarily include an aggravated assault or attempted sexual battery, Defendant’s convictions did not violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. The Supreme Court approved the decision below and disapproved conflicting decisions to the extent that they conflicted with this opinion, holding that Defendant’s convictions were different offenses, prohibited by different statutes, and criminalized different conduct, and therefore, the convictions did not violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. View "Tambriz-Ramirez v. State" on Justia Law

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Juvenile offenders’ sentences of life with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years do not violate the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution as set forth in Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and Virginia v. LeBlanc, 137 S. Ct. 1726 (2017), and therefore, such juvenile offenders are not entitled to resentencing under Fla. Stat. 921.1402. Defendant was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and armed robbery, crimes he committed when he was sixteen years old. Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years for the murder conviction. Defendant later filed a motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.850, asserting that he was entitled to relief under Miller. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that Miller was inapplicable because Defendant had the opportunity for release on parole. The court of appeal reversed, concluding that Atwell v. State, 197 So. 3d 1040 (Fla. 2016), required resentencing even where the offender may later obtain parole. The Supreme Court quashed the decision below, holding that juvenile offenders’ sentences of life with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years under Florida’s parole system do not violate Graham, and therefore, such offenders are not entitled to resentencing. View "State v. Michel" on Justia Law

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Upon revocation of a youthful offender’s probation for a substantive violation, the trial court is authorized to either impose another youthful offender sentence, with no minimum mandatory, or to impose an adult Criminal Punishment Code sentence requiring imposition of any minimum mandatory term of incarceration associated with the offense of conviction. Defendant was eighteen years old when he pleaded guilty to robbery with a firearm, which carried a ten-year minimum mandatory sentence. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a youthful offender under the Florida Youthful Offender Act to four years in prison and two years of probation. After Defendant violated his probation the trial court revoked his probation and sentenced him on the underlying offense of robbery with a firearm to fifteen years in prison, with a ten-year minimum mandatory sentence. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court quashed the decision below and remanded the case for resentencing, holding that where a defendant is initially sentenced to probation or community control as a youthful offender and the trial court later revokes supervision for a substantive violation and imposes a sentence above the youthful offender cap under Fla. Stat. 958.14 and 948.06(2), the court is required to impose a minimum mandatory sentence that would have originally applied to the offense. View "Eustache v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, which sought relief pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Appellant was sentenced to death following a jury’s unanimous recommendation for death. The death sentence became final in 2001. In affirming the denial of Appellant’s motion, the Supreme Court held that Hurst does not apply retroactively to Mansfield’s sentence of death. View "Mansfield v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Petitioner’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851 seeking relief pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Petitioner was sentenced to death following a jury’s unanimous recommendation for death. Petitioner’s death sentence became final in 1998. The Supreme Court held that Hurst does not apply retroactively to Petitioner’s sentence of death, and therefore, the circuit court did not err in denying relief. View "Jimenez v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851 seeking relief pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Appellant was sentenced to death following a jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of ten to two. Appellant’s death sentence became final in 1992. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Appellant’s sentence of death, and therefore, the circuit court properly denied Appellant’s motion. View "Owen v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law