final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Petition for writ of prohibition to the Seventeenth Judicial
Circuit, Broward County; Edward Harold Merrigan, Judge; L.T.
Case No. 17-10817CF10A.
Finkelstein, Public Defender, and Sarah Sandler, Assistant
Public Defender, Fort Lauderdale, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Jeanine
Germanowicz, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
Sargeant challenges his prosecution in Broward adult circuit
court for burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, a
third-degree felony allegedly committed when he was fourteen
years old. His case was transferred to adult court based on
an unrelated and pending prosecution as an adult in St. Lucie
County, which is in a different judicial circuit. He contends
that, under section 985.557(3)(b), Florida Statutes (2017),
transfer to adult court is authorized only if adult charges
are pending in the same circuit. We reject this argument and
legislature has given subsection 985.557(3) a
name-"EFFECT OF DIRECT FILE." Subsection
985.557(3)(a) implements the policy "once sentenced as
an adult, always an adult." Subsection (a) provides that
once a juvenile has "been transferred for criminal
prosecution pursuant to an information and has been found to
have committed the presenting offense or a lesser included
offense, " the juvenile "shall be handled
thereafter in every respect as if an adult for any
subsequent violation of state law, unless the court imposes
juvenile sanctions under s. 985.565." (Emphasis added).
The statute does not tie its impact to the same circuit where
the juvenile was prosecuted and sentenced as an adult because
adult treatment is mandated for "any" subsequent
with the treatment of a juvenile sentenced as an adult in
subsection (3)(a), subsection 985.557(3)(b) describes the
treatment of a juvenile "who is transferred for criminal
prosecution as an adult" and who has other pending
cases-the child must be prosecuted as an adult for all
outstanding felony charges.
(b) When a child is transferred for criminal prosecution as
an adult, the court shall immediately transfer and certify to
the adult circuit court all felony cases pertaining to
the child, for prosecution of the child as an adult,
which have not yet resulted in a plea of guilty or nolo
contendere or in which a finding of guilt has not been made.
If a child is acquitted of all charged offenses or lesser
included offenses contained in the original case transferred
to adult court, all felony cases that were transferred to
adult court as a result of this paragraph shall be subject to
the same penalties to which such cases would have been
subject before being transferred to adult court.
§ 985.557(3)(b), Fla. Stat. (2017) (emphasis added).
Once again, the statute is not circuit-specific; transfer to
"adult court" is required of "all felony
cases, " wherever their geographic location may be.
the plain language of section 985.557, the transfer of the
Broward case to adult court was authorized because of
Sargeant's pending prosecution as an adult in St. Lucie
reject the application of State v. A.C., 714 So.2d
617 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998), and Medina v. State, 732
So.2d 1153 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999), because those cases construed
the 1997 version of the statute, which was substantially
different. The statute was amended to its current
form in 1999. See Ch. 99-284, § 26, Laws of
involved juveniles who had committed offenses and were
adjudicated delinquent before October 1, 1997, which is when
the transfer provision in the statute first went into effect.
The juveniles opposed transfer arguing that subjecting them
to adult sanctions would increase the punishment for their
offenses and violate ex post facto laws. 714 So.2d
at 618. A.C. interpreted the 1997 statute and
concluded that its "objective" was to have
"all pending delinquency and criminal proceedings before
the same court at the same time." Id.
A.C. held that no ex post facto violation
occurred because the only effect of the transfer provision
was "to alter which division of the circuit court has
jurisdiction of those pending dispositions."
Id. at 619.
Medina construed the 1997 version of the statute and
believed that the purpose of transferring postadjudicatory
juvenile cases to the adult court was to promote efficiency.
732 So.2d at 1155 ("The apparent intent of the statute
is to promote efficiency by having all open juvenile cases
transferred to the felony division handling the direct-filed
cases."). Medina held that "[o]nce
transferred, however, post-adjudicatory juvenile cases retain
their juvenile ...