Scates v. State, No. 78533

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; BARKETT; GRIMES; GRIMES
Citation603 So.2d 504
PartiesCarrick A. SCATES, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent. 603 So.2d 504, 77 Ed. Law Rep. 596, 17 Fla. L. Week. S467
Docket NumberNo. 78533
Decision Date23 July 1992

Page 504

603 So.2d 504
Carrick A. SCATES, Petitioner,
v.
STATE of Florida, Respondent.
No. 78533.
603 So.2d 504, 77 Ed. Law Rep. 596, 17 Fla. L. Week. S467
Supreme Court of Florida.
July 23, 1992.

PER CURIAM.

We review State v. Scates, 585 So.2d 385, 386 (Fla. 4th DCA1991), in which the court certified the following question as being of great public importance:

MAY A TRIAL COURT PROPERLY DEPART FROM THE MINIMUM MANDATORY PROVISIONS OF SECTION 893.13(1)(e), FLORIDA STATUTES (1989), UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF

Page 505

THE DRUG REHABILITATION PROVISIONS OF SECTION 397.12, FLORIDA STATUTES (1989)?

We have jurisdiction pursuant to article V, section 3(b)(4) of the Florida Constitution.

Scates pled guilty to purchasing one rock of cocaine from an undercover sheriff's deputy within 1000 feet of a school in violation of section 893.13(1)(e)(1), Florida Statutes (1989). The trial court found that Scates had purchased the cocaine for personal use, suffered from substance abuse addictions and was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest. The court found that he was amenable to meaningful rehabilitation and that there was a reasonable possibility that drug treatment would be successful. The court placed Scates on two years' probation and ordered him to undergo drug rehabilitation pursuant to section 397.12, Florida Statutes (1989). 1 The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed on the premise that section 893.13(1)(e)(1) required the imposition of a minimum mandatory sentence of three years. Accord State v. Lane, 582 So.2d 77 (Fla. 4th DCA1991); State v. Baxter, 581 So.2d 937 (Fla. 4th DCA1991), vacated on other grounds, Baxter v. Letts, 592 So.2d 1089 (Fla.1992); State v. Liataud, 587 So.2d 1155 (Fla. 4th DCA1991), review granted, 593 So.2d 1052 (Fla.1992).

Section 893.13(1)(e)(1) provides that individuals convicted of manufacturing, selling, delivering, or purchasing cocaine within 1000 feet of a school "shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 3 calendar years." The statute is intended to create a drug-free zone around Florida's schools, State v. Burch, 545 So.2d 279, 281 (Fla. 4th DCA1989), approved, 558 So.2d 1 (Fla.1990).

On the other hand, in enacting chapter 397, the legislature intended "to provide a meaningful alternative to criminal imprisonment for individuals capable of rehabilitation ... through techniques and programs not generally available in state or federal prison systems" and "to encourage trial judges to use their discretion to refer persons charged with, or convicted of, violation of laws relating to drug abuse ... to a state-licensed drug rehabilitation program in lieu of, or in addition to, imposition of criminal penalties." Sec. 397.10, Fla.Stat. (1989). Section 397.12 provides:

When any person, including any juvenile, has been charged with or convicted of a violation of any provision of chapter 893 or of a violation of any law committed under the influence of a controlled substance, the court ... may in its discretion require the person charged or convicted to participate in a drug treatment program licensed by the department [of Health and Rehabilitative Services].... If referred by the court, the referral may be in lieu of or in addition to final adjudication, imposition of any penalty or sentence, or any other similar action.

We have the problem of reconciling the requirement of section 893.13(1)(e)(1) to impose a three-year sentence with the mandate of section 397.12 to find alternatives to prison for violations of chapter 893 where such alternatives would be more beneficial.

In construing these statutes, we begin with the principle that, where criminal statutes are susceptible to differing constructions, they must be construed in favor of the accused. See Sec. 775.021, Fla.Stat. (1989); Lambert v. State, 545 So.2d 838, 841 (Fla.1989). On its face, section 397.12 applies to chapter 893, and this application is not limited by any other provision of chapter 397. Also, while section 893.13(1)(e) does call for a minimum three-year sentence, when read in conjunction with the other sentencing provisions of chapter 893, it does not absolutely preclude trial judges from exercising their discretion to reduce the sentence.

Two other sections in chapter 893 contain mandatory minimum sentences. Sections 893.135 and 893.20, Florida...

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46 practice notes
  • Morris v. State, No. 1D99-4286.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 29, 2001
    ...constructions, they must be construed in favor of the accused." Thompson v. State, 695 So.2d 691, 693 (Fla.1997) (citing Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504, 505 (Fla. 1992)). "Courts are inclined to adopt that reasonable interpretation of a statute which removes it farthest from constitutional ......
  • McNeil v. State, No. 5D13–1810.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 13, 2015
    ...is required to use the interpretation that is to the benefit of the defendant. See § 775.021(1), Fla. Stat. (1991) ; Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504 (Fla.1992) ; 162 So.3d 278Lambert v. State, 545 So.2d 838 (Fla.1989) ; State v. Jackson, 526 So.2d 58 (Fla.1988) ; Ogden v. State, 605 So.2d 15......
  • Ramroop v. State, No. 5D14–1359.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 4, 2015
    ...statutes are susceptible to differing constructions, they must be construed in favor of the accused.” Id. (citing Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504, 505 (Fla.1992) ).As noted by the dissent in Thompson, in 1995, the Legislature removed subsection (3) from section 784.07 and reenacted it in sec......
  • Mack v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., BRISTOL-MYERS
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 7, 1996
    ...purpose" they should be construed in harmony. City of Boca Raton v. Gidman, 440 So.2d 1277, 1282 (Fla.1983); see also, Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504, 506 (Fla.1992) ("In general, statutes relating to the same subject and having the same purpose should be construed consistently"). The Flori......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
46 cases
  • Morris v. State, No. 1D99-4286.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 29, 2001
    ...constructions, they must be construed in favor of the accused." Thompson v. State, 695 So.2d 691, 693 (Fla.1997) (citing Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504, 505 (Fla. 1992)). "Courts are inclined to adopt that reasonable interpretation of a statute which removes it farthest from constitutional ......
  • McNeil v. State, No. 5D13–1810.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 13, 2015
    ...is required to use the interpretation that is to the benefit of the defendant. See § 775.021(1), Fla. Stat. (1991) ; Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504 (Fla.1992) ; 162 So.3d 278Lambert v. State, 545 So.2d 838 (Fla.1989) ; State v. Jackson, 526 So.2d 58 (Fla.1988) ; Ogden v. State, 605 So.2d 15......
  • Ramroop v. State, No. 5D14–1359.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 4, 2015
    ...statutes are susceptible to differing constructions, they must be construed in favor of the accused.” Id. (citing Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504, 505 (Fla.1992) ).As noted by the dissent in Thompson, in 1995, the Legislature removed subsection (3) from section 784.07 and reenacted it in sec......
  • Mack v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., BRISTOL-MYERS
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 7, 1996
    ...purpose" they should be construed in harmony. City of Boca Raton v. Gidman, 440 So.2d 1277, 1282 (Fla.1983); see also, Scates v. State, 603 So.2d 504, 506 (Fla.1992) ("In general, statutes relating to the same subject and having the same purpose should be construed consistently"). The Flori......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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