Baker v. State, No. 97-3171.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtW. SHARP.
Citation723 So.2d 338
PartiesBradley J. BAKER, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 97-3171.
Decision Date11 December 1998

723 So.2d 338

Bradley J. BAKER, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee

No. 97-3171.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

December 11, 1998.


723 So.2d 339
James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and Brynn Newton, Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Simone P. Firley, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

W. SHARP, Judge.

Baker appeals from his sentence of 15 years in prison after having been convicted of one count of lewd and lascivious act upon a child.1 In imposing the departure sentence2 the trial judge gave three written reasons, which we find are not supported by the record in this case. Thus we vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing pursuant to the guidelines.3

Baker was charged with three criminal offenses: armed burglary of a dwelling,4 oral sexual battery,5 and a lewd and lascivious act on a child. The jury found him not guilty of the first two, and guilty of only the latter count. The jury's acquittal of Baker of the two more serious offenses limited the trial judge's ability to impose a departure sentence which fundamentally draws on elements of crimes for which Baker was acquitted. Zolache v. State, 687 So.2d 298 (Fla. 4th

723 So.2d 340
DCA 1997); Allen v. State, 604 So.2d 23 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992)

The evidence, which was consistent with the jury's verdict, showed that Baker entered the 13-year-old victim's home through a window, at night. Although the young victim denied she helped him gain entry to the house, he testified she had handed him a chair from the living room so that he could climb into the window. He further testified she took him to her bedroom for the purpose of engaging in sex.

The victim shared a bedroom with a cousin, a sister and two infants. While the victim and Baker were engaging in sexual activities, one of the children in the room partially awoke. The victim became nervous and she escorted Baker to the front door of the house and let him out.

When the victim told her mother about an "attack" on her, her mother told her she had just had a bad dream. When the mother found wetness on the victim's bed, she took her daughter to a rape crisis center, but would not permit an internal examination. DNA tests on semen found on the bed clothes established that the semen could have come from Baker. Baker admitted having oral sex with the victim, but stressed it was consensual.

The reasons given by the trial judge for departing upwards from the presumptive sentence were: 1) the victim was physically attacked in the presence of one or more members of her family; 2) Baker is not amenable to rehabilitation or supervision due to an escalating pattern of criminal conduct as described in section 921.001(a); and 3) Baker induced a minor to participate in any of the offenses pending before the court for disposition.

The first reason given for departure tracks the ground provided for in section 921.006(3)(m). The statute does not define what is meant by an "attack," but the count for which Baker was convicted does not contain as an element an assault or attack on a victim. The amended information charged that Baker:

Did ... commit an act defined as sexual battery under section 794.011(1)(h), Florida Statutes, upon A.M., a child under sixteen (16) years of age, to wit: thirteen (13) years of age, by oral, anal or vaginal penetration by or union with the sexual organ of another....

The criminal statute under which Baker was charged on that count was section 800.04(3). Under this crime, it is the age of the victim that is critical—not the offensive nature of the activity. See...

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