Maddox v. State, No. 96-3590

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtGRIFFIN; THOMPSON, J., concurs and dissents in part, with opinion, in which DAUKSCH; THOMPSON; DAUKSCH
Citation708 So.2d 617
Parties23 Fla. L. Weekly D720 David Lavern MADDOX, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date13 March 1998
Docket NumberNo. 96-3590

Page 617

708 So.2d 617
23 Fla. L. Weekly D720
David Lavern MADDOX, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
No. 96-3590.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
Fifth District.
March 13, 1998.

James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and Andrea J. Surette, Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.

No Appearance for Appellee.

EN BANC

GRIFFIN, Chief Judge.

We have elected to hear this Anders 1 case en banc to clarify the scope of section 924.051, Florida Statutes (1996), which was enacted as part of the Criminal Appeal Reform Act. See Ch. 96-248, Laws of Florida. At issue is whether, in a direct appeal, this court may strike costs imposed without statutory authority where the cost issues have never been presented to the trial court. For the reasons which follow, we find the cost issues have not been preserved for review, and we affirm Maddox's sentence.

Maddox entered a plea of nolo contendere to burglary of a structure, 2 preserving his right to appeal the trial court's order denying his motion to suppress. He preserved no other issues for appeal. 3 He was sentenced

Page 618

on December 3, 1996 to five years' probation, with the special condition that he serve 364 days in the county jail. He was also assessed a number of costs, including $1.00 for the police academy and $205 in court costs. Maddox did not contest the assessment of costs at the time he entered his plea, and he did not file a motion to correct his sentence under rule 3.800(b), although the latter two charges are improper. The $1.00 assessment for the police academy is no longer authorized by statute. See Laughlin v. State, 664 So.2d 61 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995); see generally Miller v. City of Indian Harbour Beach, 453 So.2d 107 (Fla. 5th DCA 1984) (explaining the history of the assessment). Additionally, section 27.3455, Florida Statutes (Supp.1996) limits to $200 the "additional court costs" which can be imposed by the trial court.

In Bisson v. State, 696 So.2d 504 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997), this court addressed an analogous cost issue, despite the failure to file a rule 3.800(b) motion or otherwise preserve the issue for review, on the basis that the cost assessment was illegal and the error therefore "fundamental." We now conclude, however, that these issues are not reviewable on appeal unless the error is preserved.

In a direct appeal from a conviction or sentence in a nonplea case, the Criminal Appeal Reform Act permits review of only those errors which are (1) fundamental or (2) have been preserved for review. § 924.051(3), Fla. Stat. The word "preserved," as used in the statute, means that the issue has been presented to, and ruled on by the trial court. § 924.051(1)(a), Fla. Stat. Where a plea of guilty or nolo contendere has been entered, the right of appeal is limited to legally dispositive issues which have been reserved for appeal. § 924.051(4), Fla. Stat. As to this latter category, the Florida Supreme Court quickly held that, in order for this statute to be constitutional, it must be construed "to permit a defendant who pleads guilty or nolo contendere without reserving a legally dispositive issue to nevertheless appeal a sentencing error, providing it has been timely preserved by motion to correct the sentence." See Amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, 685 So.2d 773, 775 (Fla.1996). The reference to "sentencing errors" appears to include those that are unlawful, as well as those that are illegal, despite the Supreme Court's reference in its opinion to Robinson v. State, 373 So.2d 898 (Fla.1979). 4

Recognizing that, in the sentencing arena, the new legislation would preclude the appeal of many sentencing errors which formerly were routinely corrected on direct appeal (such as nonfundamental sentencing errors apparent on the face of the record), 5 the supreme court set about creating a method for a criminal defendant to obtain relief from sentencing errors not preserved at the time of sentencing. In essence, the court created a sort of post-hoc device for preserving such sentencing errors for appeal. Fla. R.Crim. P. 3.800(b). Any error not complained of at the time of sentence could be complained of in the trial court after sentencing, if done in accordance with the new rule. Thus, at approximately the same time section 924.051 became effective, the Florida Supreme Court, by emergency amendment to Florida

Page 619

Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800, permitted the filing of a motion to correct a sentence entered by the trial court, provided the motion was filed within ten days (now thirty) of the date of rendition of the sentence. See Amendments to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.020(g) and Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800, 675 So.2d 1374 (Fla.1996). Only then, if not corrected by the trial court, could it be raised on appeal because it had been "preserved." Although rule 3.800 by its terms traditionally had been limited to illegal sentences, subsection (b) of the rule, as amended, more broadly applies to any sentencing error. 675 So.2d at 1375. 6 The Rule 3.800(a) procedure remains available to correct an illegal sentence at any time.

The court also clarified in the amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure that direct appellate review of any sentencing error in a nonplea case is prohibited if the issue has not first been presented to the trial court. 685 So.2d at 801. The amendments, which became effective January 1, 1997, provide:

(d) Sentencing Errors. A sentencing error may not be raised on appeal unless the alleged error has first been brought to the attention of the lower tribunal:

(1) at the time of sentencing; or

(2) by motion pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(b).

Fla. R.App. P. 9.140(d). The amended appellate rules applicable to pleas of guilty or no contest similarly now limit the right of appeal to those sentencing errors which have been preserved for review. 685 So.2d at 799-800.

(2) Pleas. A defendant may not appeal from a guilty or nolo contendere plea except as follows:

(A) A defendant who pleads guilty or nolo contendere may expressly reserve the right to appeal a prior dispositive order of the lower tribunal, identifying with particularity the point of law being reserved.

(B) A defendant who pleads guilty or nolo contendere may otherwise directly appeal only

(i) the lower tribunal's lack of subject matter jurisdiction;

(ii) a violation of the plea agreement, if preserved by a motion to withdraw plea;

(iii) an involuntary plea, if preserved by a motion to withdraw plea;

(iv) a sentencing error, if preserved; or

(v) as otherwise provided by law.

Fla. R.App. P. 9.140(b)(2).

The net effect of the statute and the amended rules is that no sentencing error can be considered in a direct appeal unless the error has been "preserved" for review, i.e. the error has been presented to and ruled on by the trial court. This is true regardless of whether the error is apparent on the face of the record. And it applies across the board to defendants who plead and to those who go to trial. As for the "fundamental error" exception, it now appears clear, given the recent rule amendments, that "fundamental error" no longer exists in the sentencing context. The supreme court has recently distinguished sentencing error from trial error, and has found fundamental error only in the latter context. Summers v. State, 684 So.2d 729, 729 (Fla.1996) ("The trial court's failure to comply with the statutory mandate is a sentencing error, not fundamental error, which must be raised on direct appeal or it is waived."); Archer v. State, 673 So.2d 17, 20 (Fla.) ("Fundamental error is 'error which reaches down into the validity of the trial itself to the extent that a verdict of guilty could not have been obtained without the assistance of the alleged error.' "), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 117 S.Ct. 197, 136 L.Ed.2d 134 (1996). It appears that the supreme court has concluded that the notion of "fundamental error" should be limited to trial errors, not sentencing errors. The high court could have adopted a rule that paralleled the Criminal...

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102 practice notes
  • Maddox v. State, No. SC92805
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 11 May 2000
    ...No. SC93966. PARIENTE, J. We have for review the en banc decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 760 So.2d 94 Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), which expressly and directly conflicts with the en banc opinion of the First District Court of Appeal in Nelson v. Stat......
  • Jackson v. State, No. SC07-659.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 29 May 2008
    ...officer [the trial judge] best able to investigate and to correct any error.'" Amendments II, 761 So.2d at 1016 (quoting Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617, 621 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), approved in part, 760 So.2d 89 Unfortunately, the rule changes did not have the desired effect, but instead spawn......
  • Jordan v. State, No. 97-2002
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 16 September 1998
    ...recognize the labor-saving and reputation-enhancing benefits of being adequately prepared for the sentencing hearing. Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617, 621 (Fla. 5th DCA) (en banc),7 review granted, No. 92,805 (Fla. July 7, 1998). The entire point of the statutory and rule changes was to requ......
  • Bain v. State, No. 97-02007
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 29 January 1999
    ...is no such thing as a fundamental sentencing error, and that an appeal such as this one may not be entertained. See Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998) (en banc), review granted, 718 So.2d 169 (Fla.1998). The Fourth District agrees with Maddox except with respect to illegal s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
102 cases
  • Maddox v. State, No. SC92805
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 11 May 2000
    ...No. SC93966. PARIENTE, J. We have for review the en banc decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 760 So.2d 94 Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), which expressly and directly conflicts with the en banc opinion of the First District Court of Appeal in Nelson v. Stat......
  • Jackson v. State, No. SC07-659.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 29 May 2008
    ...officer [the trial judge] best able to investigate and to correct any error.'" Amendments II, 761 So.2d at 1016 (quoting Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617, 621 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), approved in part, 760 So.2d 89 Unfortunately, the rule changes did not have the desired effect, but instead spawn......
  • Jordan v. State, No. 97-2002
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 16 September 1998
    ...recognize the labor-saving and reputation-enhancing benefits of being adequately prepared for the sentencing hearing. Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617, 621 (Fla. 5th DCA) (en banc),7 review granted, No. 92,805 (Fla. July 7, 1998). The entire point of the statutory and rule changes was to requ......
  • Bain v. State, No. 97-02007
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 29 January 1999
    ...is no such thing as a fundamental sentencing error, and that an appeal such as this one may not be entertained. See Maddox v. State, 708 So.2d 617 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998) (en banc), review granted, 718 So.2d 169 (Fla.1998). The Fourth District agrees with Maddox except with respect to illegal s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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