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Cooper v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fifth District

January 12, 2018

DEMETRIUS CARTER COOPER, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Brevard County, Jeffrey Mahl, Judge.

          Demetrius Carter Cooper, Raiford, pro se.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Bonnie Jean Parrish and Douglas Squire, Assistants Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

          PER CURIAM.

         Demetrius Carter Cooper appeals the denial of a "Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence." In 2009, Cooper was charged with aggravated battery, a second-degree felony, and was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act. See § 958.04, Fla. Stat. (2009). The Act subjects an offender to a maximum incarceration period of 6 years. See id. § 958.04(2). Cooper was sentenced to 479 days in the Department of Corrections ("DOC"), followed by 18 months of community control and a subsequent term of 18 months of probation. After the revocation of his community control for a substantive violation, the trial court sentenced Cooper to a minimum mandatory term of 20 years with the DOC pursuant to section 775.087(2)(a), Florida Statutes (the 10-20-Life statute). The judgment and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal. Cooper v. State, 56 So.3d 783 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011). Cooper's sentence was later amended to reflect that he maintained his youthful offender status.

         Cooper has filed several appeals related to his sentence. In this appeal, he challenges the denial of his "Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence." In the motion, he claimed that the minimum mandatory term was illegal because it exceeded the maximum sentence he could have received for a second-degree felony. See § 775.082(3)(d), Fla. Stat. (providing 15-year maximum sentence for second-degree felony).

         Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a) provides, in relevant part:

(a) Correction.
(1) Generally a court may at any time correct an illegal sentence imposed by it, or an incorrect calculation made by it in a sentencing scoresheet, when it is affirmatively alleged that the court records demonstrate on their face an entitlement to that relief, provided that a party may not file a motion to correct an illegal sentence under this subdivision during the time allowed for the filing of a motion under subdivision (b)(1) or during the pendency of a direct appeal.

         Rule 3.800(a) "is intended to balance the need for finality of convictions and sentences with the goal of ensuring that criminal defendants do not serve sentences imposed contrary to the requirements of law." Carter v. State, 786 So.2d 1173, 1176 (Fla. 2001). "[A] sentence is 'illegal' if it 'imposes a kind of punishment that no judge under the entire body of sentencing statutes could possibly inflict under any set of factual circumstances.'" Id. at 1178 (quoting Blakley v. State, 746 So.2d 1182, 1186‒87 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999)).

         Section 958.14, Florida Statutes, addresses a youthful offender's violation of probation or community control:

A violation or alleged violation of probation or the terms of a community control program shall subject the youthful offender to the provisions of s. 948.06. However, no youthful offender shall be committed to the custody of the department for a substantive violation for a period longer than the maximum sentence for the offense for which he or she was found guilty . . . .

         (Emphasis added). Section 958.14 dictates that violations are subject to the provisions of section 948.06, ...


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