Grant v. State, SC99-164.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Citation770 So.2d 655
Docket NumberNo. SC99-164.,SC99-164.
PartiesKenneth GRANT, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
Decision Date02 November 2000

770 So.2d 655

Kenneth GRANT, Petitioner,
STATE of Florida, Respondent

No. SC99-164.

Supreme Court of Florida.

November 2, 2000.

770 So.2d 656
James Marion Moorman, Public Defender, and Douglas S. Connor, Assistant Public Defender, Tenth Judicial Circuit, Bartow, Florida, for Petitioner

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General, Robert J. Krauss, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Chief of Criminal Law, and Ronald Napolitano, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, Florida, for Respondent.


We have for review Grant v. State, 745 So.2d 519 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999), which expressly and directly conflicts with Adams v. State, 750 So.2d 659, 662 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999) (reasoning that the "imposition of a sentence under both [the prison releasee reoffender and the habitual felony offender] statutes constitutes double jeopardy and is illegal") and Thomas v. State, 745 So.2d 1119 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999) (holding that such concurrent sentences violate double jeopardy).1 We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla. Const.


Kenneth Grant pled "no contest" to a charge of sexual battery (reserving the right to seek appellate review of certain

770 So.2d 657
constitutional issues which he had presented) and received concurrent sentences as a habitual felony offender (pursuant to section 775.084, Fla. Stat. (1997)) and a prison releasee reoffender (pursuant to section 775.082(8), Florida Statutes (1997)(the "Act")). The final judgment and sentence reflects that Grant received one sentence of fifteen years as a habitual felony offender ("HFO"), with a mandatory minimum term of fifteen years as a prison releasee reoffender ("PRR"). Before both the trial court and the lower appellate court, Grant asserted that the Act was unconstitutional.2 Some of these issues3 have already been resolved by this Court's opinion in State v. Cotton, 769 So.2d 345 (Fla.2000); those issues will not be revisited here. The Second District rejected all of Grant's challenges


Grant first argues that the Act embraces multiple subjects in violation of the single subject requirement of article III, section 6, Florida Constitution (providing that every law "shall embrace but one subject and matter properly connected therewith, and the subject shall be briefly expressed in the title"). Pursuant to this requirement, there must be "a logical or natural connection" between the various portions of a legislative enactment. State v. Johnson, 616 So.2d 1, 4 (Fla.1993); accord Martinez v. Scanlan, 582 So.2d 1167, 1172 (Fla.1991) ("The act may be as broad as the legislature chooses provided the matters included in the act have a natural or logical connection"). The single subject requirement is satisfied if a "reasonable explanation exists as to why the legislature chose to join the two subjects within the same legislative act." Johnson, 616 So.2d at 4.

Here, as observed by the Second District in the decision below, all of the provisions of chapter 97-239, Laws of Florida (which created the Act) pertain to reoffenders. Accord Jackson v. State, 744 So.2d 466 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999); Young v. State, 719 So.2d 1010 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998). Where, as here, there is a logical nexus between the statute's various provisions, the single subject requirement of the Florida Constitution has not been violated.


Next, Grant asserts that the two concurrent, fifteen-year sentences imposed upon him for the single offense of sexual battery violate double jeopardy.4 The double jeopardy clause of the United States Constitution "protects against multiple punishments for the same offense." Ohio v. Johnson, 467 U.S. 493, 498, 104 S.Ct. 2536, 81 L.Ed.2d 425 (1984). This protection is "designed to ensure that the

770 So.2d 658
sentencing discretion of the courts is confined to the limits established by the legislature." Id. at 499, 104 S.Ct. 2536

Relevant to this question, section 775.082(9)(a)2., Florida Statutes (1997), provides, in pertinent part, that, "[u]pon proof from the state attorney that establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant is a prison releasee reoffender... such a defendant is not eligible for sentencing under the sentencing guidelines and must be sentenced" in accordance with the Act. Pursuant to section 775.082(8)(a)2.c., Florida Statutes (1997), the sentence provided for a felony of the second degree is "a term of imprisonment of fifteen years." However, section 775.082(8)(c), Florida Statutes (1997), provides, further, that "[n]othing in this subsection shall prevent a court from imposing a greater sentence of incarceration as authorized by law, pursuant to s. 775.084 or any other provision of law." Importantly, section 775.082(8)(d)1., Florida Statutes (1997), reflects the intent of the Legislature "that offenders previously released from prison who meet the criteria in paragraph (a) be punished to the fullest extent of the law and as provided in this subsection." (Emphasis added).

The legislative intent, as expressed in these provisions, is clear. As we held in Cotton:

[W]hen the Act is properly viewed as a mandatory minimum statute, its effect is to establish a sentencing "floor." If a defendant is eligible for a harsher sentence "pursuant to [the habitual offender statute] or any other provision of law," the court may, in its discretion, impose the harsher sentence. See § 775.082(8)(c), Fla. Stat. (1997).

Cotton, 769 So.2d at 354. It is no different to impose, on a qualifying defendant, a PRR mandatory sentence concurrently with a longer HFO sentence than to impose a mandatory minimum sentence for use of a firearm concurrently with a longer HFO sentence. Cf. Jackson v. State, 659 So.2d 1060, 1063 (Fla.1995) (holding that a defendant could receive a minimum mandatory sentence for possession of a firearm to run concurrently with an HFO sentence for offenses occurring within a single criminal episode). The Second District recognized this similarity in its decision in this case. See Grant, 745 So.2d at 522.

The First District, in Smith v. State, 754 So.2d 100 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000), applied the same analogy. In Smith, the defendant was convicted of robbery and sentenced to thirty years as a habitual felony offender, with a concurrent fifteen-year mandatory minimum term as a prison releasee reoffender. The First District found that this did not violate double jeopardy:

In the PRR Act, the Legislature wrote, "Nothing in this subsection shall prevent a court from imposing a greater sentence of incarceration as authorized by law, pursuant to s. 775.084, or any other provision of law." Sec. 775.082(8)(c), Fla. Stat. (1997). We find that this subsection allows a trial court to impose an HFO sentence on a PRR when the defendant qualifies under both statutes. It does not require a trial court to choose between one or the other. When a defendant receives a sentence like the one in this case, the PRR Act operates as a mandatory minimum sentence. It does not create two separate sentences for one crime.

Smith, 754 So.2d at 101; see also Alfonso, 761 So.2d at 1231 (affirming the defendant's conviction and sentence in all respects, and certifying conflict with Adams "on the issue of whether the double jeopardy clause precludes sentencing of a defendant as both a prison releasee reoffender and a habitual felony offender"). We agree with the conclusion of the First, Second and Third Districts that the imposition of an applicable longer, concurrent term of imprisonment with a PRR mandatory minimum sentence does not violate double jeopardy.

The concern expressed by the

770 So.2d 659
Fourth District in Adams5 is based upon an erroneous analysis of the interplay between the two recidivist statutes. The Fourth District reasoned that, by sentencing the defendant "to the first fifteen years as a PRR, for which no gain time is credited, appellant would only accumulate the gain time in the last fifteen years [of his concurrent 30 year HFO sentence], and would serve 12.75 additional years, or 27.75 years minimum, which would deprive him of allowable gain time under the HFO statute." Adams, 750 So.2d at 660 (emphasis added). We disagree with this interpretation. Where a defendant is convicted of a single offense which qualifies for a sentence longer than an applicable mandatory minimum established by the Legislature, and the Legislature has authorized imposition of such longer sentence in the act creating the mandatory minimum, gain time would still accrue with respect to the non-PRR sentence during the overlapping time that both the mandatory minimum sentence and a portion of the longer sentence are being served; however, such gain time would obviously apply only to the longer sentence, and not to the mandatory minimum. This result both ensures that no sentence longer than that authorized by law will be imposed, and fulfills the intent of the Legislature that qualifying offenders be punished to the "fullest extent of the law," including imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence.

Applying these principles here, as established in Cotton, the Legislature's intent both to provide a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment pursuant to the Act and to allow for...

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