Articles Posted in Sentencing

In many cases, a defendant who is convicted of a crime will be sentenced to probation. If a defendant violates the terms of the probation, however, the court may revoke the probation and sentence to the defendant to a term of imprisonment. Recently, a Florida appellate court discussed a defendant’s rights in probation revocation hearings in a case in which the defendant’s probation was revoked due to an alleged sexual assault. If you live in Sarasota and are faced with charges of sexual assault or any other crime, it is prudent to meet with a dedicated  Sarasota sex crime defense attorney regarding your case.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the defendant was charged with aggravated child abuse. He entered into a plea agreement with the State and was sentenced to probation for 36 months. Subsequently, the State alleged that the defendant violated his probation by committing two acts of sexual assault. The violation report listed the offenses as the sexual battery on a victim under twelve by a person eighteen years or older. A trial was held regarding the alleged charges.

Allegedly, at the end of the trial, prior to the jury’s decision, an evidentiary hearing was held on the alleged probation violation. The court revoked the defendant’s probation without allowing the defendant to speak and sentenced the defendant to five years of imprisonment. The defendant was subsequently found not guilty of sexual assault crimes. The jury submitted a note to the judge stated that they believed the defendant committed an illegal act, but the evidence was insufficient to prove the crime charged.

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The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects a criminal defendant who is convicted of a crime from cruel and unusual punishment. The Constitution does not define cruel and unusual punishment, however, so the courts have been tasked with interpreting whether a sentence is barred by the Eighth Amendment. In cases involving juvenile homicide offenders, the Florida courts have held that a sentence that does not provide a meaningful chance for release are improper under the Eighth Amendment.

Recently, a Florida appellate court scrutinized whether a sentence of life in prison with judicial review after 25 years was cruel and unusual punishment, ultimately ruling that it was not. If you are charged with a violent crime in Sarasota, it is essential to retain a skillful Sarasota criminal defense attorney to assist you in formulating a defense.

The Defendant’s Conviction and Sentence

Reportedly, the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder in 1985, for a crime he committed when he was a juvenile. He was first sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after twenty-five years. In 2016, he moved for post-conviction relief in the form of resentencing, arguing that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. Following a hearing, he was resentenced to life in prison with judicial review after twenty-five years. The defendant subsequently appealed the new sentence. On appeal, the court affirmed.

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In some cases, rather than sentence a person convicted of a crime to imprisonment, a court will impose probation. A probation sentence typically includes conditions that the defendant must abide by. If a defendant fails to comply with the terms of his or her probation, probation may be revoked and a stricter sentence may be imposed.

As set forth in a case recently decided by a Florida appellate court, however, not all probation violations are grounds for revocation. If you live in Sarasota and are facing criminal charges, it is prudent to consult a seasoned Sarasota criminal defense attorney to assist you in formulating a defense.

Terms of the Defendant’s Probation

The defendant was convicted of welfare fraud and sentenced to probation. There were several conditions to her probation, including the conditions that she “will pay” court costs and that she “may perform” community service in lieu of paying court costs. The defendant did not pay the court costs or perform community service. Consequently, the State moved for a revocation of probation. During the revocation proceeding, the court did not assess whether the defendant had the ability to pay the court costs, but found that the defendant had the ability to perform community service. Thus, the court revoked her probation. The defendant then appealed the revocation of her probation.

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When a person is convicted of a crime, there are several factors that are considered in determining an appropriate sentence. For certain crimes, the court must employ a sentencing scoresheet to determine the minimum sentence that may be imposed. If a court does not properly classify the crimes for which the defendant was convicted on a sentencing scoresheet, however, it can result in an inappropriate sentence.

This was illustrated recently in a case heard by a Florida appellate court, in which the court reversed the defendant’s sentenced due to a scoresheet error.  If you live in Sarasota and are currently facing criminal charges, you should meet with an experienced Sarasota crime defense attorney to formulate a plan for your defense.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest

Reportedly, the defendant was on probation for a drug charge when he was charged with armed kidnapping and robbery with a weapon. He entered a no contest plea to violating his probation, and the State offered a factual basis for his plea. The state alleged that three men entered a cell phone store, bound one of the employee’s arms behind her back, and stoles several phones. Prior to leaving, one of the men sprayed the employee in the face with pepper spray. A short time thereafter, a similar robbery occurred at a different cell phone store. The second store had surveillance video, which ultimately led to the defendant’s arrest. The defendant stipulated to the facts introduced by the State but argued that he played a lesser role in the crimes.

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If you are currently facing sex crime charges, it is important to be aware of both the elements of the crime charged and the elements considered for sentencing if you are convicted of the crime. The elements weighed for sentencing may be different than those needed to find a defendant guilty, and if certain elements are present it may result in increased penalties.

For example, in a recent federal appellate case which arose out of a Florida district court, the court held that the sentencing guidelines for child pornography allow for enhanced sentencing for a person convicted of possession of child pornography, if the offender is determined to have produced or caused the production of such pornography. If you are a resident of Clearwater currently facing sex crime charges, you should consult a skilled Clearwater sex crimes defense attorney to help you develop a plan to help you retain your rights.

Defendant’s Conviction and Sentencing

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted of conspiring to receive and possess child pornography and receiving child pornography. He was sentenced to 480 months in prison. He appealed his sentence on the grounds that the trial court erred when it determined that he’d produced or caused the production of child pornography in determining an appropriate sentence. He further argued his sentence was unreasonable due to certain mitigating factors such as his lack of criminal history, his record of public service, and his unstable childhood. On appeal, the court affirmed his sentence.

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Double jeopardy principles prohibit the state from charging or trying a defendant more than once for the same crime. In some cases where dual offenses result from the same factual scenario, double jeopardy precludes a defendant from being convicted for both crimes. This is not true with all crimes involving multiple offenses, however, as illustrated in a recent case arising out of a Florida court of appeals.

The court, in that case, rejected the defendant’s argument that he could not be convicted of both robbery and theft because it constituted double jeopardy, affirming his conviction of both charges.  If you face criminal charges in Clearwater, you should confer with a seasoned Clearwater criminal defense attorney to help you develop a strategy for your defense.

 Factual Scenario

Reportedly, an armed robbery occurred at a convenience store. Police suspected the defendant committed the robbery as well as other robberies and conducted an investigation. The defendant was subsequently charged with armed robbery, grand theft, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, based on the results of the investigation. A jury convicted the defendant of armed robbery and petit theft. The defendant was sentenced to life in prison. He appealed his conviction arguing, among other things, that he could not be convicted of both robbery and theft because it constituted double jeopardy. The court of appeals rejected his argument and affirmed his conviction.

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Florida law affords individuals convicted of crimes certain rights with regards to sentencing. For example, certain sentences must be orally pronounced, and with few exceptions, a defendant has the right to be present at his or her sentencing hearing.

As the District Court of Appeal for the Second District of Florida recently held in Darwin v. Florida, if the trial court imposes a sentence without the presence of the convicted party, it can result in the sentence being reversed. If you were charged with a sex-crime in Clearwater, it is important to retain an experienced Clearwater sex crimes attorney who will fight diligently to protect your liberties.

Defendant’s Sentencing

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted and sentenced for uninformed HIV-infected sexual intercourse. His sentence included a $525 discretionary fine. During the sentencing hearing, the fine was not orally pronounced; therefore, the defendant filed a motion to correct the sentence, arguing that the fine was improperly imposed due to the fact that Florida law requires discretionary fines to be orally pronounced to ensure due process. The trial court agreed and scheduled a status conference during which the court orally pronounced the fine, but made no other changes to the sentence. The defendant was not present at the status conference. He subsequently appealed the discretionary fine, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing the sentence without his presence at the hearing. The court agreed and reversed.

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