Spear v. State, Case No. 5D19-1747

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtLAMBERT, J.
Citation294 So.3d 995
Parties Michael D. SPEAR, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberCase No. 5D19-1747
Decision Date17 April 2020

294 So.3d 995

Michael D. SPEAR, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.

Case No. 5D19-1747

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

Opinion filed April 17, 2020


James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Glendon George Gordon, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.

Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Kaylee D. Tatman, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

LAMBERT, J.

The primary question that we address in this appeal is whether a trial court, on its own motion, may, at any time after a judgment and sentence becomes final, correct a ministerial error in sentencing documents that overreport the amount of jail credit and prison credit awarded to a defendant. Appellant, Michael D. Spear, argues that the answer to this question is "No," and, for various reasons, he essentially asks

294 So.3d 997

that we recede from this court's earlier precedent that such a post-judgment correction by the court of the amount of jail credit previously overly-reported is permissible. See Gallinat v. State , 941 So. 2d 1237, 1238 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006) (concluding that a trial court's sua sponte reduction to an erroneous jail credit calculation so that the judgment and sentence accurately reflect the amount of time previously served by the defendant prior to sentencing does not increase the sentence in violation of the double jeopardy provisions of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution).

For the following reasons, we decline to recede from Gallinat .1 Accordingly, we affirm the amended judgments and sentences entered by the trial court sua sponte in the two cases below that reduced the erroneously-excessive amount of jail credit and prison credit that was awarded to Spear in each case at his resentencing.2 However, because other of our sister courts have specifically held that a trial court may not sua sponte rescind jail credit previously awarded, even if the initial award was improper, we certify conflict with those decisions. We also certify a question of great public importance to the Florida Supreme Court.

HISTORY—

Spear was initially placed on twenty-four months’ drug offender community control to be followed by thirty-six months of drug offender probation on six felony counts, with supervision running concurrently on each count. Shortly thereafter, Spear was charged with two Condition 5 violations of his community control for committing the criminal offenses of false imprisonment and domestic violence battery. The State also brought a separate criminal prosecution against Spear charging him with these two crimes.

The parties ultimately entered into a plea agreement to resolve both cases. The court accepted the plea but, consistent with a " Quarterman agreement,"3 the court permitted Spear to be released from custody pending his sentencing, "with the understanding that if [he] violates any of the release conditions listed [in the Quarterman agreement], [he] agrees to be sentenced to the maximum sentence in the above styled case[s]."

Spear failed to appear at the sentencing hearing, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was eventually arrested and thereafter appeared before the trial court for sentencing. At this hearing, the court first found that Spear had violated the Quarterman agreement. It then revoked Spear's community control and sentenced him in that case to serve the maximum prison sentence on each of the six counts, with all sentences running consecutively. Spear was awarded 163 days of jail credit on the first count only. On his second case, the court sentenced Spear to serve the maximum prison sentence on the sole felony count,4 to run consecutively to the aggregate prison sentence imposed in his violation of community control case. Spear was awarded 139 days of jail credit in this second case.

294 So.3d 998

Spear appealed his judgments and sentences. In a brief opinion, we reversed the sentences imposed in each case and remanded for an evidentiary hearing and factual determination as to whether Spear's failure to comply with the Quarterman agreement was willful. Spear v. State , 244 So. 3d 421, 421 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018).

Spear was returned from prison for this hearing. Thereafter, the court resentenced Spear in each case, and while his aggregate prison sentence was still lengthy, it was less than his original sentence.5

Pertinent here, after the trial court pronounced Spear's respective prison sentences, the deputy clerk then proceeded to compute Spear's jail credit in each case. While arguably unnecessary, the deputy clerk also computed Spear's prison credit. See Bryant v. State , 240 So. 3d 55, 57 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018) (explaining that once the trial court determines that a defendant is entitled to prison credit upon resentencing, the Department of Corrections has the primary responsibility for calculating the credit, and it is permissible for the trial court to confirm the defendant's entitlement to prison credit and to delegate the task of calculating the amount of credit to the Department). The clerk apparently calculated that Spear had spent 493 days in prison prior to resentencing, a figure that Spear has not challenged here. Thus, at resentencing, Spear was entitled to 656 days of credit in his violation of community control case, reflecting his 163 days of previous jail credit awarded plus 493 days’ prison credit. Instead, the deputy clerk announced that Spear's credit was "going to be 686."

As to Spear's second case, rather than awarding 632 days of credit for the 139 days of previous jail credit plus the 493 days’ prison credit, the clerk stated that "it'll be 932 [days of credit]." The trial court did not thereafter separately announce the jail or prison credit awarded prior to entering the written sentencing documents in each case containing these incorrect credit figures, generically described in the judgments as "original jail credit."

TRIAL COURT'S SUA SPONTE MODIFICATION OF CREDIT—

Approximately two months after Spear was resentenced, the trial court received a letter from a Correctional Service Consultant with the Florida Department of Corrections ("DOC"). The DOC confirmed that it had awarded Spear the amount of credit as ordered by the court in the resentencing documents, but questioned the correctness of the aforementioned mathematical computations in the calculation of the amount of credit awarded in each case. The DOC suggested that if it was not the court's intent to award Spear the additional credit in each case, amended judgments and sentences would be required.

Based upon this letter, the trial court, citing to this court's opinions in Gallinat and Hagley v. State , 140 So. 3d 678, 679 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014) (recognizing that a court has the "inherent power to correct clerical errors such as calculation of jail credit"), sua sponte entered orders that the judgments and sentences in each case be corrected to show that Spear now had a total of 656 days of "jail credit" on count one in his violation of community control case and 632 days of "jail credit" on his second case.6

294 So.3d 999

Spear has timely appealed these amended judgments and sentences, and he has raised three arguments for reversal. First, he contends that Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.801 is the only mechanism to adjust jail credit and it does not authorize the trial court to sua sponte reduce jail credit. Second, Spear argues that the court's reduction in jail credit violated the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy because it resulted in his punishment being increased after he began serving his sentence. Lastly, Spear claims that the court had "no legal basis" to sua sponte modify his jail credit. We will address each argument in the order presented.

DOES RULE 3.801 PRECLUDE A POST-SENTENCING REDUCTION IN JAIL CREDIT?

Spear argues that the trial court's sua sponte reduction in jail credit was erroneous because the plain language of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.801 does not permit such a reduction. We disagree.

Where, as here, the construction of a procedural rule is at issue, appellate courts apply a de novo standard of review. See Barco v. Sch. Bd. of Pinellas Cty. , 975 So. 2d 1116, 1121 (Fla. 2008) (citing Saia Motor Freight Line, Inc. v. Reid , 930 So. 2d 598, 599 (Fla. 2006) ). Thus, to facilitate our review, we turn to the pertinent language of rule 3.801, which provides:

(a) Correction of Jail Credit. A court may correct a final sentence that fails to allow a defendant credit for all of the time he or she spent in the county jail before sentencing as provided in section 921.161, Florida Statutes.[7 ]

Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.801(a).

Spear's reliance on rule 3.801 for relief is misplaced for two reasons. First, the rule applies only to situations where too little jail credit is awarded to a defendant in the sentencing documents, which is not what occurred here. This rule does not speak to, nor, more specifically, does it preclude the correction of improperly-awarded excessive jail credit.

Second, by its plain language, the rule does not apply to awards of prison credit. Here, while the trial court broadly labeled Spear's time served in the resentencing documents as "original jail...

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6 practice notes
  • Blair v. State, 4D21-3214
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 2, 2022
    ...in imprisonment for more than [the sentence length], and does not ‘increase the sentence.’ " Id. at 1241 ; see also Spear v. State , 294 So. 3d 995, 1001-03 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020), review granted , SC20-676, 2020 WL 3866920 (Fla. July 9, 2020) (upholding the Gallinat decision 336 So.3d 309 and......
  • Blair v. State, 4D21-3214
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 2, 2022
    ...result in imprisonment for more than [the sentence length], and does not 'increase the sentence.'" Id. at 1241; see also Spear v. State, 294 So.3d 995, 1001-03 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020), review granted, SC20-676, 2020 WL 3866920 (Fla. July 9, 2020) (upholding the Gallinat decision and certifying ......
  • Valera-Rodriguez v. State, Case No. 2D18-1794
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 17, 2020
    ...Cf. United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 633-34, 122 S.Ct. 1781, 152 L.Ed.2d 860 (2002) (rejecting the defendant's contention that 294 So.3d 995 his sentence was illegal due to the indictment's failure to charge the precise weight of the drugs in his possession at the time of arrest where......
  • Spear v. State, Case No. 5D19-1747
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 29, 2022
    ...Spear v. State , 341 So.3d 1106 (Fla. June 16, 2022), the Florida Supreme Court quashed this court's decision in Spear v. State , 294 So. 3d 995 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020). Our court had affirmed amended judgments and sentences entered by the trial court sua sponte in two cases below that 343 So.3......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 cases
  • Blair v. State, 4D21-3214
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 2, 2022
    ...in imprisonment for more than [the sentence length], and does not ‘increase the sentence.’ " Id. at 1241 ; see also Spear v. State , 294 So. 3d 995, 1001-03 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020), review granted , SC20-676, 2020 WL 3866920 (Fla. July 9, 2020) (upholding the Gallinat decision 336 So.3d 309 and......
  • Blair v. State, 4D21-3214
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 2, 2022
    ...result in imprisonment for more than [the sentence length], and does not 'increase the sentence.'" Id. at 1241; see also Spear v. State, 294 So.3d 995, 1001-03 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020), review granted, SC20-676, 2020 WL 3866920 (Fla. July 9, 2020) (upholding the Gallinat decision and certifying ......
  • Valera-Rodriguez v. State, Case No. 2D18-1794
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 17, 2020
    ...Cf. United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 633-34, 122 S.Ct. 1781, 152 L.Ed.2d 860 (2002) (rejecting the defendant's contention that 294 So.3d 995 his sentence was illegal due to the indictment's failure to charge the precise weight of the drugs in his possession at the time of arrest where......
  • Spear v. State, 5D19-1747
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 29, 2022
    ...In Spear v. State, 47 Fla.L.Weekly S161 (Fla. June 16, 2022), the Florida Supreme Court quashed this court's decision in Spear v. State, 294 So.3d 995 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020). Our court had affirmed amended judgments and sentences entered by the trial court sua sponte in two cases below that re......

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