final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; John Patrick Contini, Judge; L.T. Case No.
L. Luck, Marissel Descalzo and Mariko Shitama Outman of
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., Miami, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Richard
Valuntas, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
Barrington Parague appeals his convictions of aggravated
assault with a deadly weapon and felony battery, as well as
his sentence and the accompanying order to pay $30, 000 to
the victim in restitution. Although we affirm his conviction
without further comment, we find the restitution order was
the product of improper coercion by the trial court and
reverse that portion of the sentence.
charges stemmed from an incident that began with a verbal
altercation between appellant and victim at appellant's
place of work. What led to the altercation was a matter of
dispute. What was undisputed is that during the episode
appellant swung a machete toward the victim, slapping him
across the chest with the flat side of the blade. The victim
testified that this strike caused a bruise on his chest.
Then, at some point during the altercation, a third party
(appellant's employee) grabbed the victim from behind and
slammed him to the ground, causing a dislocation of the
appellant was convicted of the charges, the court conducted a
sentencing hearing where restitution was discussed. The
victim agreed that his shoulder was dislocated when the third
party threw him to the ground. Consequently, he lost his
labor-intensive job and had not been able to work there
since. He received four months of physical therapy that
totaled $5, 000 to $6, 000, and although he never found out
how much shoulder surgery would cost, he could not afford it
point, the State interjected and explained that restitution
relating to the shoulder injury was unavailable because it
was not caused by appellant:
[THE STATE]: There's a little bit of a restitution issue
in this case, I guess. Unfortunately, for the victim the
injuries really were caused by him being thrown to the
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Not by [appellant].
THE COURT: I understand.
[THE STATE]: So, that's an additional cost that typically
a victim would have - at least they could get monetary
compensation and be made whole, and that is not available to
the victim in this case and that is causing him to have
stronger feelings perhaps about the potential punishment in
several witnesses spoke on behalf of appellant to attest to
his character and family obligations, and before appellant
spoke on his own behalf, the court issued the following
warning that was clearly intended to convey the message that
anything less than a full acceptance of responsibility could
increase the likelihood that appellant would be imprisoned:
But I don't want to hear anything remotely - and I'm
giving you a warning. I could have been the kind of guy to
sit here and lying in wait, wait to make a huge mistake, and
run his mouth like some of these authors of these letters
about how "I was defending myself."
If he did that, I'm telling you straight up, he is gone,
off to see the wizard.
What I'd like to hear - I don't know that. I would
like to hear someone with a happy, happy, spirit, urge the
Court to, please, let him remain free so he can pay $30, 000
over time to this victim for losing his job, for the surgery
that he is going to need, for the $6, 000 he is out already.
The surgery is going to be at least another $10, 000, and
instead of staying free so he can pay financial bills for a
daughter - no, if he ever stays free, it is not to pay her
bills. It's to show remorse and to show contrition and to
show extraordinary responsibility. If I heard things like
that, I might be moved to believe a lot more of what I read
If I don't hear anything like that, if I hear about what
a generous man. I hear about a generous man who does for so
many people, helps employees that otherwise would not be able
to feed his families, I'm moved by that, if that's
really who he is, but not for him ...