Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Copeland v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

February 9, 2018

Dontavious Lamar Copeland, Appellant,
v.
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

         On appeal from the Circuit Court for Alachua County. Mark W. Moseley, Judge.

          Andy Thomas, Public Defender, and Glen P. Gifford, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Kaitlin Weiss, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          OSTERHAUS, J.

         Dontavious Lamar Copeland appeals the life sentence imposed for first-degree murder after the Florida Supreme Court reversed and remanded his case for resentencing under Horsley v. State, 160 So.3d 393 (Fla. 2015). The State also cross-appeals, arguing that the sentence unlawfully provided for judicial review after 25 years. We reverse and remand for resentencing because the sentence is unlawful.

         I.

         Mr. Copeland was seventeen years old when he killed Jearicka Mack, a fifteen-year-old bystander at the scene of a parking lot fight outside a club. See Copeland v. State, 129 So.3d 508, 509 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014). Following a guilty verdict on a first degree murder charge, the trial court sentenced Mr. Copeland to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Id. at 510. This court affirmed. Id. at 511. However, in the wake of a new juvenile sentencing law being enacted, the Florida Supreme Court quashed our decision and remanded for "resentencing in conformance with the framework established in chapter 2014-220, Laws of Florida, which has been codified in sections 775.082, 921.1401, and 921.1402 of the Florida Statutes." Copeland v. State, 177 So.3d 1264 (Fla. 2015).

         At the re-sentencing hearing, the State and Mr. Copeland presented evidence to the trial court and arguments on the factors set forth in § 921.1401(2). After weighing the factors, the court determined that Mr. Copeland's crime and situation were consistent with the uncommon circumstance where life imprisonment constitutes an appropriate sentence. It sentenced him to life in prison. Over the State's objection, the trial court additionally imposed judicial review of Mr. Copeland's sentence after 25 years. See § 921.1402(2)(a), Fla. Stat.

         After sentencing, Mr. Copeland filed two motions to correct sentencing errors. The first motion argued that a jury verdict was needed on the sentencing factors in order to authorize his sentence under § 921.1401. The trial court denied this motion. The second motion involved the sentence's provision for a judicial review hearing after 25 years. Mr. Copeland argued that the trial court made a scrivener's error by stating that Mr. Copeland was "entitled to" a review hearing, instead of saying that he was "eligible for" a review hearing. At a subsequent hearing, the State argued that Mr. Copeland was neither "entitled to, " nor "eligible for" a 25-year review hearing, and that it had already cross-appealed the issue. The trial court denied the motion.

         As it now stands, Mr. Copeland appeals the life sentence and the State cross-appeals the trial court's decision to grant a 25-year review hearing to Mr. Copeland.

         II.

         A.

         Mr. Copeland argues that that his rights to a jury trial were violated at resentencing because the trial court considered the § 921.1401(2) sentencing factors, instead of a jury. Although the terms of this law provide that "the court shall consider factors relevant to the offense and the defendant's youth and attendant circumstances, " Mr. Copeland argues that the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as interpreted in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) and Hurst v. State, 202 So.3d 40 (Fla. 2016), and article I, section 22 of the Florida Constitution, require a jury to consider these sentencing factors before a life-sentence is imposed. We disagree with his argument for the reasons set forth in Beckman v. State, 230 So.3d 77, 94-97 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017). See also Horsley, 160 So.3d at 409 ("We conclude that applying chapter 2014-220, Laws of Florida to offenders like Horsley is the only way to comply with the commandment of the United States Supreme Court and to effectuate the intent of our Legislature."); Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 489 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.