final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit,
Martin County; Lawrence M. Mirman, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Tatjana Ostapoff, Assistant
Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Melanie Dale
Surber, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
appellant Jorge Luis Mendoza-Magadan was charged and
sentenced as an adult for one count of battery on a law
enforcement officer, one count of resisting an officer with
violence, and one count of resisting an officer without
violence. He appeals his sentence, arguing that section
985.565, Florida Statutes (2016) is unconstitutional because
it does not require the trial court to make specific findings
in support of its decision to impose adult sanctions on a
juvenile charged as an adult. We affirm because, as a matter
of constitutional law, neither the United States Supreme
Court nor the Florida Supreme Court have required trial
courts to explain their sentences.
Florida Legislature has found "that certain juveniles
have committed a sufficient number of criminal acts,
including acts involving violence to persons, to represent
sufficient danger to the community to warrant sentencing and
placement within the adult system." § 985.02(4)(b),
Fla. Stat. (2016). As such, section 985.565 gives the trial
court the power to impose adult sanctions on juveniles
charged as adults. Subsection (1)(b) lists the factors the
court "shall consider" in determining whether to
impose such sanctions. Subsection (4)(a)4 states that
"[a]ny sentence imposing adult sanctions is presumed
appropriate, and the court is not required to set forth
specific findings or enumerate the criteria in this
subsection as any basis for its decision to impose adult
sanctions." (Emphasis added).
contends that, without specific findings, an appellate court
is unable to review whether the trial court properly
considered the required factors in deciding to impose adult
sanctions. However, "the power to declare what
punishment may be assessed against those convicted of crime
is not a judicial power, but a legislative power, controlled
only by the provisions of the Constitution." Booker
v. State, 514 So.2d 1079, 1081 (Fla. 1987) (quoting
Brown v. State, 13 So.2d 458, 461 (Fla. 1943));
see also Hall v. State, 823 So.2d 757, 763 (Fla.
2002), abrogation on other grounds recognized in State v.
Johnson, 122 So.3d 856, 862 (Fla. 2013) ("Criminal
sentences are a product of legislative decision.").
as the sentencing court complies with the statutory
requirements, there is nothing for an appellate court to
review. See Henderson v. State, 61 So.3d 494 (Fla.
2d DCA 2011); see also Howard v. State, 820 So.2d
337, 339 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002) (explaining that, "when a
sentence is within statutory limits, it is not subject to
review by an appellate court."). The only exception is
"where the facts establish a violation of a specific
constitutional right during sentencing."
Howard, 820 So.2d at 340. The Florida Supreme Court
has not held that the constitution requires a trial court to
explain its sentence. Therefore, because appellant does not
argue that the trial court failed to follow the statute, his
sentence is presumed appropriate.
reject appellant's argument that his prior juvenile
dispositions should not have been included on his scoresheet
to calculate his lowest permissible sentence because such
dispositions are rendered without the same procedural
safeguards as adult convictions, such as the right to a jury
trial. See Knighton v. State, 193 So.3d 115 (Fla.
4th DCA 2016); Nichols v. State, 910 So.2d 863 (Fla.
1st DCA 2005); United States v. Smalley, 294 F.3d
1030 (8th Cir. 2002).
Ciklin, C. J and Kuntz, J, concur
J, concurs ...