Cookston v. State, 93-1571

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation639 So.2d 100
Docket NumberNo. 93-1571,93-1571
Parties19 Fla. L. Weekly D1276 Timothy B. COOKSTON, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date10 June 1994

James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and Noel A. Pelella, Asst. Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, and Anthony J. Golden, Asst. Atty. Gen., Daytona Beach, for appellee.

HARRIS, Chief Judge.

We find that the record supports the trial judge's conclusion that Cookston's confession was voluntarily and knowingly given; we therefore affirm Cookston's convictions. We also agree that the judge properly rejected youthful offender treatment for Cookston who was convicted of second degree murder, an offense authorizing a sentence for a term of years not exceeding life. Duke v. State, 541 So.2d 1170 (Fla.1989); Tomlinson v. State, 589 So.2d 362 (Fla. 2d DCA 1991), rev. denied, 599 So.2d 1281 (Fla.1992).

Cookston also urges that we should reverse his "departure" sentence since the reason given by the court is vague and insufficient. First, we are not convinced that this is a departure sentence. Cookston was sentenced to a "term of natural life." Section 775.082(3)(a) seems to require that such a sentence shall not exceed forty years. Cookston's permitted range under the guidelines is seventeen to forty years. It appears, therefore, that even if his sentence was reversed and remanded for resentencing under the guidelines, Cookston would be subject to the identical prison term.

Further, even if this sentence is construed as a departure sentence, the reason stated, aided by the inference created by the court's reference to Barfield v. State, 594 So.2d 259 (Fla.1992), constitutes a sufficient finding of an escalating pattern of criminal conduct. It is apparent from the record that Cookston's criminal history would justify a finding of a continuing, persistent and escalating pattern of criminal activity. Although neither the statements of the judge in the sentencing transcript nor his written reason for departure explicitly states that he "found" that Cookston's record reflected an escalating pattern, 1 his reference to "State v. Barfield [Barfield v. State], 594 So.2d 259" indicates a finding of escalation. If we thought otherwise, we would remand for clarification.

We are not unmindful of Pope v. State, 561 So.2d 554 (Fla.1990), and Owens v. State, 598 So.2d 64 (Fla.1992). We construe these cases as reflecting a commitment by the supreme court to bring recalcitrant trial judges (and appellate judges) into compliance with guideline sentencing. These cases essentially require that the...

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3 cases
  • State v. Brendell, 94-1749
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 23, 1995
    ...the reasons for downward departure are ambiguous. See Knowles v. State, 654 So.2d 592 (Fla. 1st Page 595 DCA 1995); Cookston v. State, 639 So.2d 100 (Fla. 5th DCA), rev. den., 649 So.2d 232 Sentence VACATED; REMANDED for resentencing and clarification. COBB and W. SHARP, JJ., concur. ...
  • Knowles v. State, 94-1647
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 21, 1995 well as for clarification of the reasons for departure reflected on the scoresheet, which we find to be ambiguous. Cookston v. State, 639 So.2d 100, 101 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994), rev. denied, 649 So.2d 232 REMANDED FOR CLARIFICATION. BOOTH, LAWRENCE and VAN NORTWICK, JJ., concur. ------------......
  • Cookston v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • November 16, 1994
    ...232 649 So.2d 232 Cookston (Timothy B.) v. State NO. 84,226 Supreme Court of Florida. Nov 16, 1994 Appeal From: 5th DCA, 639 So.2d 100 Disposition: Rev....

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