final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; L.T. Case No. 502014CF008876A Glenn
Gregory Salnick of Law Offices of Salnick & Fuchs, P.A.,
West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Melynda L.
Melear, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
appeal arises from a tragic accident resulting in the
defendant's conviction and sentence for manslaughter,
improper exhibition of a firearm, and possession of a firearm
by a minor. He argues the trial court made multiple errors in
admitting evidence, instructing the jury, and sentencing the
defendant. We agree with him only on the sentencing issue. We
reverse and remand the case for resentencing before a
enforcement responded to the defendant's 911 call
claiming a shooting had occurred. When the officers arrived,
the victim was deceased. The defendant, who was 17 at the
time, ultimately admitted that he accidentally shot the
police station, the defendant told the police that he and his
friends were at his apartment playing with a 9mm handgun when
he accidentally shot his friend. He confirmed that they had
been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. He appeared
visibly shocked and shaken.
State charged the defendant by amended information with
manslaughter with a firearm, aggravated assault with a
firearm, and possession of a firearm by a minor. Prior to
trial, the defendant moved for the court to consider
sentencing him as a juvenile; the trial court denied the
jury found the defendant guilty of manslaughter, possession
of a firearm by a minor, and the lesser included offense of
improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon. The defendant then
moved for a downward departure. The State asked for 20 years
trial court found there were reasons to depart from the
guidelines, but chose not to exercise its discretion in
departing. The court stated that a 20-year sentence was
inappropriate as well. The trial court sentenced the
defendant to 124.8 months in accordance with the sentencing
appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court
fundamentally erred in failing to consider a youthful
offender sentence based on its stated policy of not imposing
youthful offender sanctions in death cases. The State
responds that the trial court properly considered the facts
and exercised its discretion in imposing an appropriate
apply a mixed two-part review when analyzing a downward
departure sentence. Kovalsky v. State, 220 So.3d
1192, 1194 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017). In the first step, the trial
court must determine whether it can depart, i.e., whether
there is a valid legal ground and adequate factual support
for that ground in the case pending before it. Id.
In reviewing the first step, we must determine whether
competent substantial evidence supports the trial court's
second step, the trial court must decide whether to depart,
i.e., whether departure is indeed the best sentencing option.
Id. This requires the trial court to weigh the
totality of the circumstances, including aggravating and
mitigating factors. Id. We review this decision for
an abuse of discretion, which occurs ...