Benyard v. Wainwright

Decision Date29 October 1975
Docket NumberNo. 46506,46506
Citation322 So.2d 473
CourtFlorida Supreme Court
PartiesJohnny C. BENYARD, Petitioner, v. Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Director, Division of Corrections, Respondent.

Johnny C. Benyard, in pro per.

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., and Wallace E. Allbritton, Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

OVERTON, Judge.

Petitioning prisoner, by mandamus, seeks recalculation of his release date. We issued our alternative writ of mandamus.

The chronology of the criminal proceedings applicable to the petitioner is as follows:

(1) On February 24, 1967, petitioner was sentenced to a term of six months to ten years for the offense of manslaughter.

(2) On June 9, 1970, petitioner was paroled.

(3) On February 24, 1972, petitioner was sentenced to a term of six months to five years for breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony. The trial court was silent on whether the sentence was to be consecutive or concurrent to the existing manslaughter sentence.

(4) On March 27, 1972, the petitioner's parole was revoked by reason of the aforementioned breaking and entering conviction. The effective date of said parole revocation was deferred by the Commission's order until the petitioner completed the sentence for the breaking and entering offense.

Petitioner contends the manner of computation of his sentence violates the principles of Brumit v. Wainwright, 290 So.2d 39 (Fla.1974), and Voulo v. Wainwright, 290 So.2d 58 (Fla.1974). These cases hold that the Commission is prohibited from delaying the effective date of a parole revocation until the completion of the new sentence for the offense causing the revocation. They require that the first sentence imposed must be the first served. The petitioner further contends he is entitled to a recomputation of his release date in a manner that allows both sentences to be served concurrently.

The respondent, on the other hand, contends Brumit should be applied prospectively and not retroactively.

Numerous petitions have been filed with this Court for mandamus or habeas corpus to require a recomputation of a prisoner's sentence in accordance with the principles of Brumit v. Wainwright and Voulo v. Wainwright, supra. We have previously rendered decisions applying those principles. See Joseph v. State, 301 So.2d 772 (Fla.1974), and Segal v. Wainwright, 304 So.2d 446 (Fla.1974).

It is necessary that we clearly set down principles applicable to computation of sentence concerning (1) the prospective or retroactive application of the rule adopted in Brumit v. Wainwright, supra, and (2) where the sentencing court is silent, whether the sentence is consecutive or concurrent to a previously imposed sentence.

We recognize that retroactive application is not constitutionally required and that this Court has the sole power to determine whether our decision should be prospective or retroactive in application. Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601 (1965). It is our opinion that the formula for computation of a prisoner's sentence should be the same for all prisoners. Therefore, the principle of Brumit prohibiting a deferred effective date for a parole revocation and requiring the first sentence imposed to be the first served shall be applied retroactively.

In so holding, we emphasize that this determination does not affect sentence computations where there is no prejudicial effect on the release date nor does it affect the legislative grant of authority to the judiciary to impose concurrent or consecutive sentences. The legislature has authorized concurrent and consecutive sentences in accordance with the provisions of Section 921.16, Florida Statutes (1973). The statute reads as follows:

'When sentences to be concurrent and when consecutive.--A defendant convicted of two or more offenses charged in the same indictment, information, or affidavit or in consolidated indictments, informations, or affidavits, shall serve the sentences of imprisonment concurrently unless the court directs that two or more of the sentences be served consecutively. Sentences of imprisonment for offenses not charged in the same indictment, information, or affidavit shall be served consecutively unless the court directs that two or more of the sentences be served concurrently.'

(Emphasis supplied)

Pursuant to this statute, a sentence for a separate offense not charged in the indictment or information is consecutive to a previously imposed sentence when the sentencing court is silent.

We recognize direct conflict exists between Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.722, adopted February 1, 1973, and Section 921.16, Florida Statutes (1973). Our Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.722 directs that sentences are concurrent unless affirmatively designated as consecutive by the sentencing court. In our opinion, the statute must prevail over our rule because the subject is substantive law.

Substantive law prescribes the duties and rights under our system of...

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87 cases
  • Chandler v. Crosby
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • December 9, 2005
    ...change requiring jury instruction on minimum and maximum authorized sentences upon request would be prospective only); Benyard v. Wainwright, 322 So.2d 473, 474 (Fla.1975) (determining in mandamus proceedings that decisions prohibiting deferral of effective date for parole revocation and re......
  • Hughes v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • April 28, 2005
    ...cases decided before this Court's decision in Witt, in which this Court also applied a rule of law retroactively: Benyard v. Wainwright, 322 So.2d 473, 475 (Fla.1975) (holding that decision in Brumit v. Wainwright, 290 So.2d 39 (Fla. 1974), which held that the Parole Commission may not dela......
  • Johnson v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • April 28, 2005
    ...cases decided before this Court's decision in Witt, in which this Court also applied a rule of law retroactively: Benyard v. Wainwright, 322 So.2d 473, 475 (Fla.1975) (holding that decision in Brumit v. Wainwright, 290 So.2d 39, 42 (Fla. 1974), which held that the Parole Commission may not ......
  • In re Amendments to the Fla. Evidence Code
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • May 23, 2019
    ...it unconstitutional." (quoting VanBibber v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Ins. Co. , 439 So.2d 880, 883 (Fla. 1983) ); Benyard v. Wainwright , 322 So.2d 473, 475 (Fla. 1975) ("The responsibility to make substantive law is in the legislature within the limits of the state and federal constituti......
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