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Masis v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

April 18, 2018

Alvis Masis, Appellant,
The State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.141(b)(2) from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Ellen Sue Venzer, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 96-38920

          Alvis Masis, in proper person.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Nikole Hiciano, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Before ROTHENBERG, C.J., and EMAS and LUCK, JJ.

          ROTHENBERG, C.J.

         The defendant, Alvis Masis, appeals from the denial of his postconviction motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         On December 5, 1996, a warrant was issued for the arrest of the defendant for for the murder of Erica Cano ("the victim"), a homicide committed that day. On March 4, 2009, a new arrest warrant was issued, along with a felony information, charging the defendant with the second degree murder of the victim. On July 21, 2009, the arrest warrant was served on the defendant when he returned to this country. The evidence established that the victim was found lying in the bathtub in a motel room with a wire hanger wrapped around her neck. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was strangulation and the manner of death was a homicide. Upon his arrest, the defendant gave a taped statement wherein he admitted to becoming angry with the victim, or as he described it, he was "full of anger, of madness" when he realized the victim intended to leave him. The defendant explained that he and the victim argued and, at some point, he grabbed the victim by the neck, dragged her into the bathroom, reached for something (which turned out to be a wire hanger), grabbed the victim by the neck again, wrapped the wire hanger around the victim's neck, and threw the victim into the bathtub. When she did not move anymore, he left the motel. The defendant told the detective that he realized that he should have simply ended the relationship, and now he had to pay for his guilt.

         On July 7, 2011, the defendant pled guilty to second degree murder, and pursuant to his negotiated plea, he was sentenced to twenty years in state prison with credit for time served. Since his plea, the defendant has attacked below, and continues to attack here, his sentence on the ground that the sentence imposed is illegal because he was sentenced under the 1995 sentencing guidelines scoresheet which was invalidated by the Florida Supreme Court in Heggs v. State, 759 So.2d 620 (Fla. 2000).

         On October 23, 2012, the defendant filed a motion for postconviction relief under rule 3.850 claiming ineffective assistance of counsel, alleging, in part, that his trial counsel should have objected to the guidelines scoresheet used to calculate the permissible sentencing range in his case. In his motion, the defendant cited to Heggs and claimed that, had the correct scoresheet been used, he would not have been sentenced to more than 12.5 years in prison. Following the State's response, the trial court denied the motion, and the defendant did not appeal the denial of his 2012 rule 3.850 motion.

         On March 7, 2014, the defendant raised the same challenge, but this time he claimed his sentence was illegal under rule 3.800(a). However, the defendant withdrew his motion after the State advised the defendant that if the trial court set aside the plea, the State was prepared to try the defendant for second degree murder, and if convicted, he could receive a life sentence.

         On September 25, 2015, the defendant raised his scoresheet claim again in a subsequent rule 3.800(a) motion, claiming that his sentence was an illegal sentence because the guidelines scoresheet invalidated by Heggs was used to compute the permissible sentencing range relied on by the State when it negotiated the plea with the defendant and by the trial court when it accepted the negotiated plea. The trial court denied the motion, and this Court affirmed that ruling on appeal. Torres v. State, 199 So.3d 274 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016).[1]

         Undaunted, the defendant returned to the trial court in 2017 and filed another rule 3.800(a) motion attacking the legality of his sentence on the same grounds and additionally claiming that the amount of gain time he has received is incorrect and that he should be resentenced under a 1994 sentencing guidelines scoresheet. The trial court concluded that the ...

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