Brumit v. Wainwright, 44202

Citation290 So.2d 39
Decision Date28 November 1973
Docket NumberNo. 44202,44202
PartiesMartin Ellis BRUMIT, Petitioner, v. Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Respondent.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida

Martin Ellis Brumit, in pro per.

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., and Enoch J. Whitney, Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

DEKLE, Justice.

Petitioning prisoner by mandamus seeks recalculation of his release date. He was originally convicted of armed robbery on November 17, 1960, and sentenced to a term of 20 years. He was paroled on July 7, 1964, and during parole was arrested on August 26, 1965, and was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on October 1, 1965, and sentenced to a term of three years which he proceeded to serve.

On October 17, 1967, the original 20-year-sentence was vacated and a new trial ordered. On July 24, 1968, petitioner was reconvicted on the original armed robbery charge and a life sentence was imposed, the court granting credit for time served on the previous robbery sentence. No mention was made of the intervening three year firearms sentence served.

On March 9, 1973, the trial court issued an order correcting the life sentence, finding it illegal, in that it exceeded the original sentence and the record did not show any reason for the longer sentence; it was accordingly modified to 20 years, 'with credit for all time served and any unforfeited gain time.'

Petitioner contends that he is entitled to credit on his robbery sentence for the three years served under the firearms possession charge, emphasizing that the order states 'credit for All time served.' Respondent (State) contends that he is Not entitled to credit for time served under the three-year-sentence in that:

(1) the sentencing judge did not intend to give credit for this time, but rather to give credit only for time previously served on the void conviction (2) even if the judge intended to give credit for all time served, CrPR 3.800 (33 F.S.A.) prevents the trial judge from modifying the portion of the previous order stating what credit is to be given; and

(3) our decisions in Law v. Wainwright, 264 So.2d 3 (Fla.1972), and Adams v. Wainwright, 275 So.2d 235 (Fla.1973), are not controlling here, because those cases dealt with escaped prisoners, whereas the petitioner was out on parole when convicted of the firearms possession charge.

It should be noted that revocation of petitioner's parole from the robbery sentence was expressly made effective upon expiration of his sentence for firearms possession.

The issue presented is:

Whether petitioner is entitled to a recalculation of his release date in which he should be given credit upon his current robbery sentence for the time served under the intervening conviction for possession of firearms by a convicted felon?

We think such credit should be given. Falagan v. Wainwright, 195 So.2d 562 (Fla.1967), is dispositive of the State's first contention. In that case, a prisoner serving a sentence which began on July 12, 1961, escaped, receiving an additional sentence therefor. He was then retried on the original charge, and this sentence included the phrase 'less time previously spent in the state penitentiary since 7/12/61'. The State argued that the sentencing judge intended to allow credit only for time served on the original sentence, but we rejected this contention, stating:

'This may be what he meant, but he also may have meant what he said. The sentence appears to us to be unequivocal. Where the language of a sentence is clear we have no power to change it by speculating that the trial judge meant something else.'

We determined that the prisoner was entitled to credit for All time spent in the penitentiary since July 12, 1961.

In the present case, the order correcting sentence specifies 'with credit for all time served,' which would seem to include time served on the firearms possession charge, consistent with Falagan.

The State's second contention is that CrPR 3.800(b) limits the time in which a trial court may correct a sentence to 60 days after its imposition unless the sentence is illegal, and that since the Portion of the later vacated life sentence giving credit was not illegal, that portion could not be modified after 60 days. The State apparently concedes that the prior life sentence of July 25, 1968, was illegal, (hence properly corrected at any time under CrPR 3.800(a)) but wishes to sever from the illegal life sentence the portion granting credit for time served. Such a distinction seems rather tenuous; the basic sentence being dead, it follows that a part thereof can not survive. Thus, the trial court acted correctly in modifying both the sentence and the credit allowed under CrPR 3.800(a).

Thirdly, respondent's contention that Law and Adams do not apply is incorrect. They are not really essential to our holding, since both of those cases dealt with the Necessity of granting credit for time actually spent in jail, and we have settled that issue here in finding that the petitioner is factually entitled to such credit. Nonetheless, we feel constrained in view of the question being raised, to discuss the proper application of the principles upon which the Law and Adams decisions rested in order to avoid unnecessary confusion in this area.

Although Law and Adams involved prisoners who escaped while serving their sentences, were recaptured and sentenced to additional terms for the escape charge In the present case, petitioner was on parole at the time he was tried and convicted of the firearms possession charge. The revocation of his parole was expressly made effective as of the completion of the sentence for that offense. Since time spent on parole is forfeited by the prisoner if parole is revoked, 1 petitioner in this case is faced with serving his sentence for possession of firearms (while technically on parole), then having his parole time forfeited and being required to serve the balance of his prior armed robbery sentence. This 'split sentence' results from the fact that the parole revocation is to be effective only upon completion of the firearms possession sentence.

it does not follow that the precedent of these holdings is limited to escape cases. In Law we stated that the prisoner was entitled to credit on his original sentence for time spent in jail awaiting his trial on the escape charge, on the basis that the interruption of his sentence ended upon his recapture, it being irrelevant What jail he was incarcerated in; the time he spent in confinement, we said, was not a continuation of the Interruption of his sentence, but a continuation of his sentence. Although we specifically noted that the trial judge had withheld sentencing, and thus had not ruled as to whether the prisoner was entitled to credit for the time served while awaiting trial, our decision in Adams precludes any contention that this fact is determinative. In Adams, the trial judge passed sentence without mentioning credit for jail time, thus in effect refusing to grant such credit. Nonetheless, we held that the prisoner was entitled to credit for the time so served, on the basis that the prisoner's return to jail constituted a return to custody and automatically re-started the serving of the original sentence. As we noted there, the walls of any prison look the same to the confined, and it makes no difference in what penal institution the sentence is served.

The effect of making the revocation of parole effective as of this later date is to place the petitioner in jail while simultaneously saying that he is still out on parole. But in our system of justice a man cannot be both in jail and out on parole at the same time; he is either in or out. There are no 'free' men in jail. As we said in Adams, 'Everybody's got to be some place!' Petitioner is entitled to pay his debt to society only one time, and that without interest; he has a right to serve his sentence at one stretch, not in bits and pieces. 2

We recognize that our courts have previously approved of parole revocations effective upon the expiration of sentence for an unrelated offense in such cases as Simmons v. State, 217 So.2d 343 (Fla.App.2d 1969); Duchein v. Cochran, 127 So.2d 97 (Fla.1961), and Johnson v. State, 185 So.2d 466 (Fla.1966). We have reconsidered the rule of those cases in light of our decisions in Law and Adams, and we today overrule those cases to the extent that they allow parole revocation to be made effective upon the completion of a sentence imposed for an offense while the prisoner was on parole, or to be made effective In futuro upon similar future occurrence or condition. We also overrule all other cases to like effect.

We therefore hold that the revocation of parole was effective as of the date upon which the revocation order was entered (November 15, 1965), and that petitioner, even prior to such formal revocation was, upon his earlier confinement of August 26, 1965, thereupon immediately recommencing the serving of his sentence for armed robbery. The firearms sentence must Follow the termination of the earlier sentence.

Accordingly, the peremptory writ of mandamus is granted. Respondent is directed

forthwith to give petitioner credit on the robbery sentence as follows:

(1) for all time served on either the robbery or the firearms possession charge and for confinement from August 26, 1965, until sentenced on the Firearms conviction, all prior to March 9, 1973;

(2) for all unforfeited gain time accrued prior to March 9, 1973; and

(3) for time served and any unforfeited gain time on the armed robbery sentence since March 9, 1973.

For purposes of making these computations, petitioner shall be considered to have been serving his sentence for armed robbery, rather than for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, subsequent to the revocation of parole on November 15, 1965, and during the prior confinement since August 26, 1965.

Petitioner shall, upon completion of, or parole, or pardon from, the...

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