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Hernandez v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

May 16, 2018

Michael Hernandez, Appellant,
v.
The State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower Tribunal No. 04-5205 John Schlesinger, Judge.

          Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Maria Lauredo, Chief Assistant Public Defender, and Jonathan Greenberg, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Jonathan Tanoos, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Before ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SALTER and SCALES, JJ.

          SALTER, J.

         Michael Hernandez appeals his amended sentencing order entered following this Court's opinion vacating in part and remanding his conviction and sentence in Hernandez v. State, 117 So.3d 778 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013) ("Hernandez I"). In accordance with that opinion, Hernandez was resentenced on his first-degree murder conviction as required by Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). On remand, the trial court applied Florida's juvenile sentencing laws enacted in 2014.[1]

         For the reasons which follow, we affirm the amended sentencing order as to Hernandez's sentence for first-degree murder, Count I, and we affirm in part and reverse and remand in part his sentence for attempted first-degree murder on Count II.

         I. Background

         A. Hernandez I

         "On September 24, 2008, a jury found Michael Hernandez guilty of the first-degree murder of a fourteen-year-old middle school student and the attempted first-degree murder of a thirteen-year-old student. At the time of his crimes, Hernandez was fourteen years old. The trial court sentenced Hernandez to life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and to a consecutive term of thirty years for attempted first-degree murder." Hernandez I, 117 So.3d at 779.

         In his appeal from the convictions and sentences, Hernandez challenged his sentence for the first-degree murder as violative of the United States and Florida Constitutions, and he raised three issues directed to the validity of the convictions for the counts of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He did not challenge, and thus this Court did not address, the validity of his consecutive thirty-year sentence for the attempted first-degree murder.

         The convictions and sentences were affirmed in Hernandez I, with the single exception already described: "Hernandez's sentence of life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder is unconstitutional because it was mandatorily imposed. Accordingly, we vacate his sentence for first-degree murder and remand for resentencing on the first-degree murder conviction in accordance with Miller." Hernandez I, 117 So.3d at 786.

         B. The Resentencing and This Appeal

         In 2016, the trial court conducted a three-day remanded sentencing hearing on the first-degree murder conviction. In the interim between Hernandez I and the resentencing hearing, the Florida Legislature enacted chapter 2014-220, Laws of Florida, effective July 1, 2014, amending the sentencing scheme applicable to juveniles convicted of murder.[2] In particular, the amendments incorporated in new section 921.1401, Florida Statutes (2014), the factors required to be considered under the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miller:

921.1401. Sentence of life imprisonment for persons who are under the age of 18 years at the time of the offense; sentencing proceedings.-
(1) Upon conviction or adjudication of guilt of an offense described in s. 775.082(1)(b), s. 775.082(3)(a) 5., s. 775.082(3)(b) 2., or s. 775.082(3)(c) which was committed on or after July 1, 2014, the court may conduct a separate sentencing hearing to determine if a term of imprisonment for life or a term of years equal to life imprisonment is an appropriate sentence.
(2) In determining whether life imprisonment or a term of years equal to life imprisonment is an appropriate sentence, the court shall consider factors relevant to the offense and the defendant's youth and attendant circumstances, including, but not limited to:
(a) The nature and circumstances of the offense committed by the defendant.
(b) The effect of the crime on the victim's family and on the community.
(c) The defendant's age, maturity, intellectual capacity, and mental and emotional health at ...

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