Smith v. State, No. 76235

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtBARKETT; SHAW; GRIMES, J., concurs in result only with an opinion, in which HARDING; GRIMES; HARDING
Citation598 So.2d 1063
Parties17 Fla. L. Weekly S213 Rhoda SMITH, Petitioner, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 76235
Decision Date02 April 1992

Page 1063

598 So.2d 1063
17 Fla. L. Weekly S213
Rhoda SMITH, Petitioner,
v.
STATE of Florida, Respondent.
No. 76235.
Supreme Court of Florida.
April 2, 1992.
Rehearing Denied June 16, 1992.

Bennett H. Brummer, Public Defender, and Marti A. Rothenberg, Asst. Public Defender, Miami, for petitioner.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., and Monique T. Befeler, Asst. Atty. Gen., Miami, for respondent.

BARKETT, Justice.

We have for review State v. Smith, 592 So.2d 1100 (Fla. 3d DCA 1990), in which the district court certified the following as a question of great public importance:

Should Pope v. State [, 561 So.2d 554 (Fla.1990),] be applied retrospectively to sentences imposed prior to April 26, 1990?

Smith, 592 So.2d at 1101. 1 We answer the certified question in the affirmative and quash the decision below.

On December 1, 1989, the circuit court entered into a plea colloquy with petitioner Rhoda Smith and agreed to give her a "last chance" on probation on the condition that she complete a drug rehabilitation program.

Page 1064

Consequently, Smith agreed to plead guilty, and the court imposed sentence. The probation sentence constituted a downward departure, and, during the plea colloquy, the court directed the State to write on the scoresheet that the downward departure was based on Smith's drug dependency. The State replied that it had not yet prepared a scoresheet. The State objected to the departure sentence, but it agreed to prepare a scoresheet with the court's reason for departure as directed by the court. However, the scoresheet ultimately prepared by the State in this case did not contain the court's reason for departure. The scoresheet was not approved by either the court or defense counsel. The State appealed the sentence.

During the district court's consideration of Smith's appeal, this Court decided Pope, in which we held "that when an appellate court reverses a departure sentence because there were no written reasons, the court must remand for resentencing with no possibility of departure from the guidelines." Pope, 561 So.2d at 556. Consequently, finding no written reason for departure in the record, the district court below reversed and remanded for resentencing pursuant to Pope, or in the alternative giving Smith the option to withdraw her plea. The court then certified the question presented here.

In Ree v. State, 565 So.2d 1329 (Fla.1990), modified, State v. Lyles, 576 So.2d 706 (Fla.1991), we held that trial courts must produce contemporaneous written reasons when they depart from the guidelines. Of particular significance for the disposition of this case is that on rehearing in Ree, we held, without analysis, that Ree would apply prospectively only. Id. at 1331. 2 Both Smith and the State argue that Pope should follow the same path as Ree because the rules in Pope and Ree are so closely related in subject, purpose, and application.

We are troubled by the inconsistency or lack of clarity in various decisions of this Court and others concerning the application of the prospectivity rule in this context. For example, we applied the Ree rule retrospectively to Ree himself, quashing the district court's opinion, which, among other things, had allowed a departure sentence without contemporaneous written reasons. However, we disallowed similarly situated defendants in other cases to benefit from the same rule. In State v. Williams, 576 So.2d 281 (Fla.1991), we approved a departure sentence that had been imposed without contemporaneous written reasons because the sentence had been imposed before Ree, even though Williams' appeal was not final when Ree was issued. In Lyles, 576 So.2d at 706, we expressly held that Ree could not apply to benefit Lyles retrospectively even though Lyles' case was still on appeal when the final decision in Ree was issued.

In contradiction, and without explanation, we have treated Pope errors differently in two cases. The defendant in Pope benefitted from retrospective application in that we quashed the district court's decision that had erroneously authorized the trial court to depart from the guidelines in resentencing after no valid contemporaneous written reasons had been given to justify the original departure sentence. Likewise, we applied Pope retrospectively in Robinson v. State, 571 So.2d 429 (Fla.1990).

The inconsistent application of retrospectivity has much precedent. As the United States Supreme Court observed, this historically has been one of the most confusing and unprincipled areas of jurisprudence. See, e.g., Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 107 S.Ct. 708, 93 L.Ed.2d 649 (1987); United States v. Johnson, 457 U.S. 537, 546, 102 S.Ct. 2579, 2585, 73 L.Ed.2d 202 (1982) (quoting Desist v. United States, 394 U.S. 244, 258, 89 S.Ct. 1030, 1038, 22 L.Ed.2d 248 (1969) (Harlan, J., dissenting)) ("coalitions favoring nonretroactivity had

Page 1065

realigned from case to case, inevitably generating a welter of 'incompatible rules and inconsistent principles' ").

The old common-law rule, bolstered by decisions of the Supreme Court, was to give retrospective effect to changes in decisional law subject to certain limited exceptions. Johnson, 457 U.S. at 542, 102 S.Ct. at 2582. In Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601 (1965), the Court adopted a policy directing courts to "weigh the merits and demerits in each case by looking to the prior history of the rule in question, its purpose and effect, and whether retrospective operation will further or retard its operation." Id. at 629, 85 S.Ct. at 1738. Significantly, the decision in Linkletter was limited to collateral review only, holding that the new rule established in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (1961), would not be applied retrospectively to state decisions that had become final before Mapp was decided.

However, the Court subsequently changed the Linkletter policy by applying retrospectivity on a case-by-case basis both to convictions that were final and convictions that were pending on direct review. For example, the decision in Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199 (1967), instructed courts to review in each instance "(a) the purpose to be served by the new standards, (b) the extent of the reliance by law enforcement authorities on the old standards, and (c) the effect on the administration of justice of a retroactive application of the new standards." Id. at 297, 87 S.Ct. at 1970; see Griffith, 479 U.S. at 320, 107 S.Ct. at 712.

The ad hoc approach in nonfinal convictions did not work. As the Court later noted in Johnson, 457 U.S. at 544-46, 102 S.Ct. at 2583-85, case-by-case application led to a series of seemingly arbitrary decisions. In some cases a rule was held to apply retrospectively to the party litigating the claim on direct review, but not to others who were similarly situated. In other cases, the rule was applied to parties in future claims but not to the one who litigated the case where the rule was established. For example, in Lee v. Florida, 392 U.S. 378, 88 S.Ct. 2096, 20 L.Ed.2d 1166 (1968), the Court established and retrospectively applied to Lee's case a rule that evidence obtained in violation of a federal statute cannot be admitted into evidence at trial. 3 Later that same year, in Fuller v. Alaska, 393 U.S. 80, 89 S.Ct. 61...

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172 practice notes
  • State v. Belvin, No. SC06-593.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 1 Mayo 2008
    ...with the past." Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 328, 107 S.Ct. 708, 93 L.Ed.2d 649 (1987) (emphasis added); see also Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063, 1066 (Fla.1992) (applying the Griffith rule to decisions of the Florida Supreme We find no error in the district court's resolution of thi......
  • Cowans v. Bagley, No. 1:00-cv-618.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • 30 Septiembre 2008
    ...procedure that are grounded on the United States Constitution." Id. at n. 45 (citations omitted). By way of contrast, in Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063 (Fla.1992), the Florida Supreme Court appeared not to distinguish between constitutional and non-constitutional rules in determining that G......
  • Gonzalez v. State, No. SC11–475.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 10 Abril 2014
    ...Hazuri after Gonzalez's trial occurred, he still receives the benefit of that decision because his case is not yet final. Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063, 1066 (Fla.1992) (“[A]ny decision of this Court announcing a new rule of law, or merely applying an established rule of law to a new or di......
  • Windom v. State, No. SC01-2706
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 6 Mayo 2004
    ...to convictions that are not yet final — that is, convictions for which an appellate court mandate has not yet issued. Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063, 1066 (Fla.1992) (holding that "any decision of this Court announcing a new rule of law, or merely applying an established rule of law to a ne......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
172 cases
  • State v. Belvin, No. SC06-593.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 1 Mayo 2008
    ...with the past." Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 328, 107 S.Ct. 708, 93 L.Ed.2d 649 (1987) (emphasis added); see also Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063, 1066 (Fla.1992) (applying the Griffith rule to decisions of the Florida Supreme We find no error in the district court's resolution of thi......
  • Cowans v. Bagley, No. 1:00-cv-618.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • 30 Septiembre 2008
    ...procedure that are grounded on the United States Constitution." Id. at n. 45 (citations omitted). By way of contrast, in Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063 (Fla.1992), the Florida Supreme Court appeared not to distinguish between constitutional and non-constitutional rules in determining that G......
  • Gonzalez v. State, No. SC11–475.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 10 Abril 2014
    ...Hazuri after Gonzalez's trial occurred, he still receives the benefit of that decision because his case is not yet final. Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063, 1066 (Fla.1992) (“[A]ny decision of this Court announcing a new rule of law, or merely applying an established rule of law to a new or di......
  • Windom v. State, No. SC01-2706
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 6 Mayo 2004
    ...to convictions that are not yet final — that is, convictions for which an appellate court mandate has not yet issued. Smith v. State, 598 So.2d 1063, 1066 (Fla.1992) (holding that "any decision of this Court announcing a new rule of law, or merely applying an established rule of law to a ne......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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