final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Monroe County, Lower
Tribunal No.15-448-BK Mark H. Jones, Judge.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Eric J. Eves, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellant.
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Harvey J. Sepler and
Shannon Hemmendinger, Assistant Public Defenders, for
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and FERNANDEZ, and LUCK, JJ.
State appeals the trial court's downward departure
sentence, which ordered the defendant, Kristina Sisco, to
serve six months in prison, then fifteen months of community
control, followed by five years of probation, instead of
twenty-one months in prison for her conviction for burglary
of a dwelling. We affirm, finding sufficient evidence in the
record to support the trial court's decision not to
impose a guidelines sentence, as well as the trial
court's determination that there was "domination,
" according to section 921.0026(2)(g), Florida Statutes
was charged in the amended information with burglary of a
dwelling. At trial, she admitted that she was guilty of
trespassing, but that she had no part in the commission of
the burglary of the dwelling. She claimed the crime was
committed by her boyfriend at the time, Daniel Rodriguez, who
stayed with her at the dwelling in question.
evidence at trial revealed that thirty-six-year-old Sisco was
the housekeeper/groundskeeper of a home in Key West in Monroe
County, Florida, owned by Mr. John and Mrs. Nancye Buckner.
The couple lived part of the year in Kentucky and part of the
year in their second home in Key West. The Buckners hired
Sisco to watch over their Key West home whenever they were
away and to take care of their dog when they were in town.
Sisco had worked for the Buckners for over eight years
without any problems and did not have a criminal record.
April 2015, Mrs. Buckner left Key West to join her husband in
Kentucky and once again hired Sisco to watch the house while
she and her husband were away. Mrs. Buckner left Sisco a key
to get in the house but told her she was not authorized to
sleep at the house. Sisco's boyfriend at the time,
co-defendant Daniel Rodriguez, was a convicted felon who was
also a drug addict. Rodriguez pressured Sisco into allowing
him to sleep at the house and convinced her to stay there
with him while the Buckners were away.
at the house, Rodriguez took property from the house and
pawned it. He also took a check from Sisco, without her
knowledge, and two checks from the Buckners and tried to pass
off the forged checks. Although Rodriguez, who was already
convicted of the theft, testified that Sisco played no role
in taking any of the property from the house, the jury found
Sisco guilty of burglary of a dwelling.
the trial, at Sisco's sentencing hearing, the defense
sought a downward departure because Sisco did not have any
prior criminal record, conducted the burglary in an
unsophisticated manner, and showed remorse for the crime.
Sisco's mother testified at the sentencing hearing that
she lives with her husband of forty-two years and her elderly
parents in a rented apartment. Sisco's son, a teenager at
the time of the sentencing, was in the custody of her
brother. Sisco's mother explained that because she is
disabled, she decided it was best for Sisco's son to live
with Sisco's brother. She testified that if Sisco got out
of jail, Sisco would live with her and be under her
authority. Sisco was not living with her mother when the
events took place. Sisco's mother and her family moved to
Key West from New York in 1995, and Sisco finished high
school in Key West in 1997. She told the court that Sisco was
never in any trouble during high school, finished high
school, and went to work. Sisco's attorney argued that
Sisco was a good candidate for probation and had always been
employed since graduating from high school.
trial court considered the following evidence and testimony
that was submitted at trial: the pre-sentence investigation
report, Sisco's post-arrest statements made to the
police, Sisco's testimony at the sentencing hearing,
Sisco's mother's testimony at the sentencing hearing,
the defense's motion for downward departure, and the
arguments made by the State and the defense. The trial court
rejected Sisco's contention that the crime was committed
in an unsophisticated manner, that it was an isolated
incident, and that she had shown remorse. Instead, the trial
court found that Sisco qualified for a downward departure
sentence pursuant to section 921.0026(2)(g), Florida Statutes
(2015), because Sisco acted "under the domination of
another person." The trial court stated:
I sat here. I listened to it. And I am quite convinced by the
requisite degree that what does apply here -- let me find it
-- is 921.0026(g), the defendant acted under extreme duress.