Lamont v. State, Nos. 79586

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtKOGAN; BARKETT; McDONALD; McDONALD
Parties18 Fla. L. Week. S5 Andre Henry LAMONT, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent. James BROOKS, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
Decision Date24 December 1992
Docket Number79946,Nos. 79586

Page 435

610 So.2d 435
18 Fla. L. Week. S5
Andre Henry LAMONT, Petitioner,
v.
STATE of Florida, Respondent.
James BROOKS, Petitioner,
v.
STATE of Florida, Respondent.
Nos. 79586, 79946.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Dec. 24, 1992.

Bennett H. Brummer, Public Defender and Bruce A. Rosenthal, Asst. Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami, for petitioners.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen. and Michael J. Neimand, Asst. Atty. Gen., Miami, for respondent.

KOGAN, Justice.

We have for review Lamont v. State, 597 So.2d 823 (Fla. 3d DCA 1992), in which the district court certified its decision as being in conflict with the decisions of other district courts of appeal on the issue of whether life felonies are subject to enhancement under the Habitual Felony Offender Act, section 775.084, Florida Statutes

Page 436

(1989). We have jurisdiction 1 and approve in part and quash in part the decision under review.

Andre Henry Lamont and James Edward Brooks were both sentenced as habitual violent felony offenders after being found guilty of life felonies. Lamont was convicted of sexual battery with a firearm, a life felony pursuant to section 794.011(3), Florida Statutes (1989); burglary of an occupied dwelling with a firearm, a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment pursuant to section 810.02(2)(b), Florida Statutes (1989); kidnapping with a firearm, a first-degree felony, pursuant to section 787.01(2), Florida Statutes (1989), which was reclassified to a life felony under section 775.087(1)(a), Florida Statutes (1989), because a firearm was used in the commission of the offense. Lamont was sentenced as a habitual violent felony offender to life imprisonment on the sexual battery and kidnapping counts, with a fifteen-year habitual offender mandatory minimum on each of those counts. 2 Lamont also received a consecutive life sentence with a fifteen-year habitual offender mandatory minimum on the armed burglary count.

Brooks was convicted of second-degree murder pursuant to section 782.04(2), Florida Statutes (1989), a first-degree felony, which was reclassified to a life felony pursuant to section 775.087, Florida Statutes (1989); and another offense which is not relevant to the issue at hand. Brooks was found to be a habitual violent felony offender and was sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for release for fifteen years, pursuant to section 775.084(4)(b).

Both Lamont and Brooks appealed, arguing that the habitual offender statute is inapplicable to life felonies because subsections (4)(a) and (4)(b) of the statute do not specifically provide for enhanced sentencing for one convicted of a life felony. The district court rejected this argument but certified its decision as being in conflict with every other district court to address the issue. See e.g. Glover v. State, 596 So.2d 1258 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992) (life felonies not subject to enhanced sentencing under the habitual offender statute); McKinney v. State, 585 So.2d 318 (Fla. 2d DCA 1991) (same); Walker v. State, 580 So.2d 281 (Fla. 4th DCA 1991) (same) review dismissed, 593 So.2d 1049 (Fla.1992); Power v. State, 568 So.2d 511 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990) (same).

The district court rejected the petitioners' construction of the Act. The court reasoned that such a construction would defeat the legislative intent, as expressed in sections 775.0841 and 775.0842, Florida Statutes (1989), to provide enhanced penalties for career criminals in order to deter crime. 597 So.2d at 825-26. The district court found it "not rational" to interpret the Act so as to subject career criminals who commit less serious felony offenses to enhanced punishment but not to do the same to those who commit the most serious of offenses. Id. at 826. The court also found it "significant" that the statutes under which Lamont and Brooks were convicted specifically provide for sentencing under section 775.084. 3 Id. at 826-27.

Looking to the Act as a whole, the district court concluded that although subsections (4)(a) and (4)(b) do not apply to life felonies, the remainder of the Act, including subsection (4)(e), does apply. Therefore, the habitual offender sentences for the life felony convictions were affirmed because the defendants could be sentenced pursuant to subsection (4)(e) of the Act;

Page 437

thereby removing the need for sentencing under the guidelines, and making them ineligible for parole and basic gain-time. However, the fifteen-year habitual offender mandatory minimums apparently imposed under subsection (4)(b) for the life felonies were vacated. 597 So.2d at 829.

Relying on our recent decision in Burdick v. State, 594 So.2d 267 (Fla.1992), the district court affirmed Lamont's sentence as a habitual offender for the armed burglary conviction, which was classified as a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment. 597 So.2d at 829. The district court appears to have rejected Lamont's contention that the first-degree felony should have been reclassified to a life felony pursuant to section 775.087(1)(a).

We agree with the district court below that it does not appear rational that the habitual offender statute subjects career criminals who commit less serious felony offenses to enhanced punishment but does not do the same for those who commit the most serious...

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109 practice notes
  • Carter v. State, No. SC92501.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 24, 2001
    ...the statute did not provide an enhanced habitual offender penalty for a defendant who committed a life felony. See Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435, 438 (Fla.1992) ("Both the plain language and the history of the relevant statutes lead us to hold that one convicted of a life felony is not sub......
  • State v. McBride, No. SC02-627.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 15, 2003
    ...which is a life felony, life felonies were not subject to sentence enhancement under the habitual offender statute. See Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435 In 2000, respondent filed a motion under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a), asserting that the habitual offender sentence imposed ......
  • Hoggins v. State, No. 95-1154
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 26, 1997
    ...agree that appellant's Habitual Violent Felony Offender Sentence for a life felony would require reversal in any event. Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435 (Fla.1992); Newberry v. State, 616 So.2d 1093 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993). Because the majority reverses for a new trial, it was unnecessary for the......
  • Lopez v. State, No. 96-2065
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 29, 1998
    ...Fla. Stat. (1995)). At the time of defendant's crime, habitualization was not possible for a life felony. See Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435, 438 (Fla.1992); Lafleur v. State, 661 So.2d 346, 349 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995). As the State properly concedes, the habitual offender sentence must be rever......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
109 cases
  • Carter v. State, No. SC92501.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 24, 2001
    ...the statute did not provide an enhanced habitual offender penalty for a defendant who committed a life felony. See Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435, 438 (Fla.1992) ("Both the plain language and the history of the relevant statutes lead us to hold that one convicted of a life felony is not sub......
  • State v. McBride, No. SC02-627.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 15, 2003
    ...which is a life felony, life felonies were not subject to sentence enhancement under the habitual offender statute. See Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435 In 2000, respondent filed a motion under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a), asserting that the habitual offender sentence imposed ......
  • Hoggins v. State, No. 95-1154
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 26, 1997
    ...agree that appellant's Habitual Violent Felony Offender Sentence for a life felony would require reversal in any event. Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435 (Fla.1992); Newberry v. State, 616 So.2d 1093 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993). Because the majority reverses for a new trial, it was unnecessary for the......
  • Lopez v. State, No. 96-2065
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 29, 1998
    ...Fla. Stat. (1995)). At the time of defendant's crime, habitualization was not possible for a life felony. See Lamont v. State, 610 So.2d 435, 438 (Fla.1992); Lafleur v. State, 661 So.2d 346, 349 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995). As the State properly concedes, the habitual offender sentence must be rever......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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