Gayman v. State

Citation616 So.2d 17
Decision Date11 February 1993
Docket Number79602,Nos. 78547,s. 78547
Parties18 Fla. L. Week. S109 Dorcy GAYMAN, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent. Kelvin WILLIAMS, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida

Louis O. Frost, Jr., Public Defender and James T. Miller, Asst. Public Defender, Jacksonville, for Gaymon.

James Marion Moorman, Public Defender, and Timothy A. Hickey and Cecilia A. Traina, Asst. Public Defenders, Bartow, for Williams.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., and Bradley R. Bischoff and Anne Y. Swing, Asst. Attys. Gen., Tallahassee, for respondent.

OVERTON, Justice.

We have for review Gayman v. State, 584 So.2d 632 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991), and Williams v. State, 596 So.2d 1148 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992), in which the district courts affirmed Petitioners' felony petit theft convictions and habitual felony offender sentences and certified the following question as one of great public importance:

WHETHER THE DOUBLE JEOPARDY CLAUSES OF THE UNITED STATES AND FLORIDA CONSTITUTIONS WERE VIOLATED BY THE TRIAL COURT'S RECLASSIFYING [PETITIONER'S] OFFENSE AS FELONY PETIT THEFT AND THEN USING THAT FELONY CLASSIFICATION TO ENHANCE [PETITIONER'S] SENTENCE PURSUANT TO THE HABITUAL VIOLENT FELONY OFFENDER STATUTE.

We have jurisdiction. Art. V, Sec. 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. We answer the question in the negative, approve, in part, the district court decision in Gayman, and approve the district court decision in Williams.

Petitioner Dorcy Gayman was found guilty of petit theft by a jury. At sentencing, the trial judge adjudicated Gayman guilty of felony petit theft under section 812.014(2)(d), Florida Statutes (1989), based on two prior convictions for petit theft. The judge then classified Gayman as a habitual violent felony offender based on the instant conviction of felony petit theft and a previous felony conviction of aggravated battery. Gayman received a five-year sentence as a result of the felony petit theft, with a five-year minimum mandatory provision under the habitual violent felony offender statute.

Petitioner Kelvin Williams was arrested for retail theft, pleaded no contest, and was adjudicated guilty of felony petit theft under section 812.014(2)(d) because of two prior petit theft convictions. The trial judge sentenced him to three years as a habitual felony offender, to be followed by two years' probation based on the felony petit theft conviction at issue and a number of prior felony convictions, including burglary of a conveyance and sale of cocaine.

Gayman and Williams contend that their sentences are unconstitutional under the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Florida Constitutions. This contention is premised on the argument that, although each was convicted of only one offense for one act, namely, petit theft, each was punished twice for that one act. They argue that the first punishment was the reclassification of petit theft to felony petit theft under section 812.014(2)(d), and that the second punishment was the classification of each as a habitual offender under section 775.084, Florida Statutes (1989), based on their prior felony records. Thus, they assert that their past records were unconstitutionally used twice to increase the punishment. Although they acknowledge that a defendant's recidivism may be used to increase the punishment, they argue that it may not be used twice to increase the punishment.

Petitioners acknowledge that in State v. Harris, 356 So.2d 315 (Fla.1978), this Court determined that felony petit theft under section 812.014(2)(d) was a separate, substantive offense rather than an enhanced penalty. 1 However, they contend that we determined felony petit theft to be a substantive offense merely because to have held otherwise would have caused jurisdictional problems between county and circuit courts. Petitioners assert that, in reality, an adjudication of felony petit theft under 812.014(2)(d) is an enhancement of petit theft to felony petit theft and, consequently, like the habitual felony offender statute, such an enhancement provides an increased punishment for a repeat offender. Additionally, they assert that the felony petit theft statute and the habitual felony offender statute are dependent on each other and are alternative methods of enhancement because, if the petit thefts had not been elevated to felony petit thefts, the habitual offender classifications in these cases would not have been possible--hence, the multiple punishments resulting in violations of the Double Jeopardy Clause. We disagree.

While the United States and Florida Constitutions do prohibit courts from imposing multiple punishments for the same offense, 2 we find that principle is not implicated under these circumstances. In Harris, we upheld the constitutionality of section 812.014(2)(d) and specifically determined that felony petit theft was a separate substantive offense. That statutory provision reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

Upon a third or subsequent conviction for petit theft, the offender shall be guilty of a felony in the third degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084.

(Emphasis added). Before our decision in Harris, when a defendant was charged with felony petit theft, a jury decided whether a defendant was guilty or innocent of felony petit theft based on the facts of the case and the defendant's prior petit theft convictions. Thus, the jury was privy to a defendant's prior record--evidence generally not otherwise admissible. Upon reviewing this procedure in Harris, we determined that, while the legislature had the right to create the substantive offense of felony petit theft, we had the right to dictate the procedure to be used in establishing the elements of the offense. Because of due process concerns, we determined that the appropriate procedure was to first try a defendant for the petit theft without bringing to the jury's attention the defendant's prior petit theft convictions. Then, after the defendant was convicted of the third petit theft, the trial judge would determine, in a separate proceeding, whether the defendant had, in fact, been convicted of the alleged prior petit thefts. Once the trial judge established the defendant's prior petit theft convictions, the defendant would be adjudicated guilty of felony petit theft.

As we acknowledged in Harris, the legislature, in enacting section 812.014(2)(d), has determined that a third or subsequent conviction for petit theft is the separate, substantive offense of felony petit theft and not simply an enhanced punishment. The procedure for first trying a defendant for petit theft is simply to protect the defendant's rights; it in no way changes the nature of the offense of felony petit theft as defined by the legislature.

Each petitioner in this case had at least two prior petit theft convictions, and they were each guilty of the substantive offense of felony petit theft as a separate felony. Based on a felony petit theft conviction as one felony, together with other previous felony convictions, each of the petitioners was sentenced as a habitual offender under section 775.084. We find that the habitualization under section 775.084 was independent of the petitioners' prior petit thefts.

Accordingly, we find that the punishment imposed on each petitioner does not violate double jeopardy principles. For the reasons expressed, we answer the certified question in the negative, approve, in part, the district court decision in Gayman, and approve the district court decision in Williams. Nevertheless, based on our recent decision in State v. Johnson, 616 So.2d 1 (Fla.1993), we find that we must remand Gayman's case for resentencing. The record reflects that Gayman was sentenced as a habitual violent felony offender under an amendment (the addition of aggravated battery) to section 775.084 contained in chapter 89-280, Laws of Florida. In Johnson, we determined that chapter 89-280 violated the single subject provision of article III, section 6, of the Florida Constitution. As such, Gayman's sentence is unconstitutional. Consequently, we remand Gaymon's case for resentencing in accordance with our decision in Johnson.

It is so ordered.

McDONALD, SHAW, GRIMES, KOGAN and HARDING, JJ., concur.

BARKETT, C.J., concurs in part and dissents in part with an opinion.

BARKETT, Chief Justice, ...

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15 cases
  • Mills v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 20, 2002
    ...also can be interpreted as defining the status of the defendant not at all unlike the felony petit theft defendant. In Gayman v. State, 616 So.2d 17 (Fla.1993), [Note 1] our supreme court recognized that one who is found guilty by a jury of petit theft, and is also found to have been at lea......
  • Wilson v. State, 5D99-2318.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 18, 2000
    ...case rule should be applied. When the trial court and this court rejected Wilson's previous motions, both courts relied on Gayman v. State, 616 So.2d 17 (Fla.1993), without recognizing that subsection 812.014(2)(d), Florida Statutes (1991), the statute applied in Gayman, had been amended. P......
  • Evans v. State, 91-3991
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 15, 1993
    ...felony offender under section 775.084, Florida Statutes (1989). The supreme court recently decided a similar issue in Gayman v. State, 616 So.2d 17 (Fla.1993), in which it held no double jeopardy violation occurred when Gayman's third petit theft conviction was reclassified as a felony purs......
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    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 27, 2000
    ...and we held that this was a double enhancement which is barred by double jeopardy. As authority for that conclusion we cited Gayman v. State, 616 So.2d 17 (Fla.1993), but we now recognize that Gayman does not support that In Gayman, the defendant was convicted of petit theft, which was recl......
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