Washington v. State, 5D01-9.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtSHARP, W., J.
Citation814 So.2d 1187
PartiesCraig Bernard WASHINGTON, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 5D01-9.,5D01-9.
Decision Date19 April 2002

814 So.2d 1187

Craig Bernard WASHINGTON, Appellant,
STATE of Florida, Appellee

No. 5D01-9.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

April 19, 2002.

814 So.2d 1188
James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and Scott Ragan, Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Pamela J. Koller, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.



We grant the state's motion for rehearing, withdraw our previous opinion dated November 30, 2001, and substitute the following opinion, which certifies to the Florida Supreme Court a question of great public importance.

As set forth in our withdrawn opinion, this was an Anders appeal.1 Pursuant to the constitutional mandate of Anders and the directives of the Florida Supreme Court in State v. Causey, 503 So.2d 321 (Fla.1987), we undertook an independent review of the record. We discovered a serious sentencing error,2 and requested supplemental briefing from the public defender and the attorney general.

Both the public defender and the attorney general agreed Washington had received an illegal sentence. He had been convicted of trafficking in cocaine and the amount of contraband was more than 200 grams and less than 400 grams. The court sentenced him to a term of life imprisonment as an habitual offender and imposed a $100,000 fine. This sentence is legal under the present version of the drug trafficking statute, except that the court would be required to sentence the defendant to a "mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years." § 893.135(1)(b)1.B, Fla. Stat. (2000). However, this statute did not become effective until October 1, 2000, and Washington committed his offense on March 24, 1999.

The applicable version of the drug trafficking statute in this case was section 893.135(1)(b)1.B, Fla. Stat. (1997).3 That statute required the defendant to be sentenced pursuant to the sentencing guidelines and pay a fine of $100,000. Washington should not have been sentenced to a life term as an habitual offender.4 His maximum guideline sentence was thirty years, and the life sentence he received exceeded the statutory maximum provided by law. In this case, Washington's life sentence is an illegal sentence and constitutes

814 So.2d 1189
fundamental error. See State v. Mancino, 714 So.2d 429 (Fla.1998)

The sticky issue in this case is what the appellate court should do about fundamental sentencing errors, such as the one in this case, in the context of Anders and Causey. The state argues the appellate court's hands are tied to correct the fundamental error on direct appeal because Washington failed to preserve the sentencing issue. See Maddox v. State, 760 So.2d 89 (Fla.2000); Geri v. State, 797 So.2d 605, 606 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001). He did not object at sentencing or file a motion to correct his sentence pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(b), and this case is past the "window period" carved out in Maddox.

Pursuant to Maddox and the new rules adopted by the Florida Supreme Court to...

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22 cases
  • Lewis v. State, 5D01-2494.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 11, 2002
    ...Accordingly, we affirm Lewis's sentence without prejudice to her right to seek appropriate post-conviction relief. Washington v. State, 814 So.2d 1187 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002); Stinson v. State, 785 So.2d 759 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001); Durr v. State, 773 So.2d 644 (Fla. 5th DCA AFFIRMED. THOMPSON, C.J......
  • Powell v. State, SC14–593.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 11, 2015
    ...has yet to do so based on procedural reasons. The Fifth District first expressed its “misgivings and concerns” in Washington v. State, 814 So.2d 1187, 1189–90 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002), and certified to this Court essentially the same question certified in Powell. However, review was ultimately d......
  • Starkes v. State, 1D08-1219.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 14, 2009
    ...appeal, we affirm appellant's convictions, albeit not, speaking for myself, without "misgivings and concerns," Washington v. State, 814 So.2d 1187, 1189 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002), regarding our duties as to the habitual offender sentence imposed for possession of cocaine. See § 775.084(1)(a)3., F......
  • Wilson v. State, 1D04-1441.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 11, 2005
    ...but patent sentencing error. The A.F.E. panel agreed with the decision and analysis of the fifth district in Washington v. State, 814 So.2d 1187 (Fla. 5th DCA), review dismissed, 831 So.2d 675 (Fla.2002), and concluded the court was constrained to affirm, because the sentencing issue had no......
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