Baker v. State, 84-1384

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation10 Fla. L. Weekly 852,466 So.2d 1144
Docket NumberNo. 84-1384,84-1384
Parties10 Fla. L. Weekly 852 Terence A. BAKER, Appellant, v. The STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date26 March 1985

Bennett H. Brummer, Public Defender and Harold Mendelow, Sp. Asst. Public Defender, for appellant.

Jim Smith, Atty. Gen. and Jacki B. Geartner, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.



The day began when Baker dropped the paint cans and ran because some store employees interrupted his unlawful asportation of ten gallons of paint. When Baker was caught by a uniformed police officer acting in the line of duty, he wrestled the officer to the ground, picked up the officer's gun, shot the officer, and fled with the officer's gun. The day ended with Baker a man with no prior criminal record, being charged with a life felony (attempted first-degree murder) and six third-degree felonies, namely, burglary of the paint store, theft of the paint, resisting arrest with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, unlawful possession of a firearm while engaged in a criminal offense, and theft of the officer's gun.

Baker pleaded guilty to all the charges. The recommended sentence under the sentencing guidelines was twelve to seventeen years in prison. 1 When the trial court imposed a sentence of thirty-four years, Baker appealed.

Baker contends that the reasons given by the trial court for departing from the sentence recommended under the guidelines do not justify the departure. The trial court's stated reasons for departure were five in number:

1. The act was done in a willful, aggressive and premeditated manner.

2. The act was done during the commission of a theft and burglary.

3. The act was committed for pecuniary gain.

4. The victim did not provoke the defendant's actions.

5. The victim was a uniformed police officer.

It is well established that an inherent component of the crime, being already built into the guideline range, will not justify a guideline departure. See Bowdoin v. State, 464 So.2d 596 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985) (use of gun inherent component of robbery with a deadly weapon); Carney v. State, 458 So.2d 13 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984) (premeditation, calculation, objective of pecuniary gain, and lack of provocation inherent components of armed robbery). Thus, that the act of attempted first-degree murder was unprovoked and done in a "willful, aggressive, and premeditated manner," common ingredients of all attempted first-degree murders, are not proper reasons for departure.

Likewise, that the act (referring to the act of attempted first-degree murder, that is, the primary offense) was committed "for pecuniary gain" and "done during the commission of a theft or burglary" are not justifiable reasons for departing from the guidelines. The burglary and theft were, as we have noted, see n. 1 supra, additional offenses at conviction for which points were already assessed against the defendant. Were these, or any, underlying or additional offenses again used to support guideline departure, then departure would be justified in any instance where multiple offenses are charged. Otherwise stated, the fact that the additional offenses were committed along with the primary offense is, as the guidelines already state, a reason to increase the score on the defendant's guideline scoresheet, but not a reason to aggravate the defendant's sentence outside of the guidelines.

We come now to the trial court's statement that the victim was a uniformed police officer. While we have found no Florida case directly holding that this reason can justify a sentence in excess of the recommended guidelines, the fact that a law enforcement officer is the victim of the crime has been held to justify the crime being elevated to a higher degree, see, e.g., Ex parte Murry, 455 So.2d 72 (Ala.1984) (murder of police officer capital offense), and affords a rational basis for the reclassification of a crime to a higher offense, see, e.g., Street v. State, 383 So.2d 900 (Fla.1980) (Section 784.07, Florida Statutes, making battery upon a law enforcement officer a felony, does not violate equal protection clause by the special treatment it gives to police officers as victims of batteries); Landrau v. State, 365 So.2d 695 (Fla.1978) (same); Soverino v. State, 356 So.2d 269 (Fla.1978) (same). Again, where the victim of a killing is a law enforcement officer on active duty, that fact is properly considered an aggravating circumstance supporting the imposition of the death penalty. See Jones v. State, 440 So.2d 570 (Fla.1983) (an aggravating circumstance under Section 921.141(5)(g), Florida Statutes, is that capital felony was committed to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of laws); Tafero v. State, 403 So.2d 355 (Fla.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 983, 102 S.Ct. 1492, 71 L.Ed.2d 694 (1982); see also Ex parte Dobard, 435 So.2d 1351 (Ala.1983), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1063, 104 S.Ct. 745, 79 L.Ed.2d 203 (1984) (aggravating circumstance where capital felony committed for purpose of avoiding lawful arrest); Calhoun v. State, 297 Md. 563, 468 A.2d 45 (1983), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 993, 104 S.Ct. 2374, 80 L.Ed.2d 846 (1984) (aggravating circumstance where victim is law enforcement officer killed in performance of duties); Tichnell v. State, 297 Md. 1, 468 A.2d 1 (1983), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 993, 104 S.Ct. 2374, 80 L.Ed.2d 846 (1984) (same).

There thus appears to be little question that "[...

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38 cases
  • Steiner v. State, s. 84-393
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 21, 1985
    ...themselves, a reason which will support a departure must not be an "inherent component" of the crime in question, Baker v. State, 466 So.2d 1144 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985) and cases cited, 6 or of any other particular consideration for which points have been already assigned or deliberately not ass......
  • Bailey v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 23, 1990
    ...presumptive guidelines score. State v. Mischler, 488 So.2d 523 (Fla.1986); Hendrix v. State, 475 So.2d 1218 (Fla.1985); Baker v. State, 466 So.2d 1144 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985), approved, 483 So.2d 423 (Fla.1986). Because Bailey's probationary status was taken into account in calculating his guide......
  • McCullum v. State, 86-2211
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 23, 1986
    ...1st DCA 1985) (action of defendant's accomplice [waving gun] not valid reason for defendant's departure sentence); Baker v. State, 466 So.2d 1144 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985) (premeditation invalid reason since common to all attempted first degree murders), decision approved, 483 So.2d 423 (Fla.1986)......
  • Allen v. State, 91-1989
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 14, 1992
    ...In Baker, the defendant had been charged with attempted first-degree murder and six varying third degree felonies. Baker v. State, 466 So.2d 1144, 1145 (Fla. 3d DCA1985), affirmed, 483 So.2d 423 (Fla.1986). In Brown, the defendant was charged with attempted murder and the use of a firearm i......
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