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Bailey v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Second District

June 26, 2019

LABRONX BAILEY, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; Emmett Battles, Judge.

          Dane K. Chase of Chase Law Florida, P.A., Saint Petersburg, for Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Kiersten E. Jensen, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee.

         ORDER

         The appellant's motion for rehearing is granted. The opinion dated March 22, 2019, is withdrawn, and the following opinion is substituted therefor. The disposition remains the same. No further motions for rehearing will be entertained.

          MORRIS, JUDGE.

         Labronx Bailey appeals his sentence of fifty years in prison for the offense of first-degree murder committed when he was a juvenile. He was convicted after a jury trial in 2009 and originally sentenced to a mandatory life sentence. After the Supreme Court ruled that such a sentence is unconstitutional, see Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), in 2015 the trial court granted a new sentencing hearing to determine if a life sentence is appropriate under the new individualized sentencing procedure set forth in section 921.1401, Florida Statutes (2014).[1] See Falcon v. State, 162 So.3d 954 (Fla. 2015) (holding that Miller applies retroactively), receded from on other grounds by Williams v. State, 242 So.3d 280 (Fla. 2018); Horsley v. State, 160 So.3d 393, 395 (Fla. 2015) (holding that the 2014 version of section 775.082(1)(b)(1) applies retroactively "to all juvenile offenders whose sentences are unconstitutional under Miller"). The trial court held a new sentencing hearing in 2016, after which the trial court determined that a life sentence is not appropriate. But the trial court found that Bailey intended to kill the victim and accordingly imposed a fifty-year sentence with review after twenty-five years as set forth in sections 775.082(1)(b)(1) and 921.1402(2)(a), Florida Statutes (2014). The trial court also imposed a twenty-year minimum mandatory term for discharging a firearm as required by the 10-20-Life statute, section 775.087, Florida Statutes (2007).[2] Bailey raises several challenges to his sentence; we affirm for the reasons explained below.

         On appeal, Bailey first argues that the trial court erred in imposing sentence under section 775.082(1)(b)(1), which provides for a forty-year minimum sentence with review after twenty-five years if the trial court finds that the juvenile had an intent to kill. Bailey argues that the ground for enhancement was not charged in the indictment and that it could not have been charged in the indictment because the statutory enhancement did not exist at the time, thus preventing application of the statutory enhancement to him. He also contends that the ground for enhancement was not found by the jury. For these reasons, he argues that he could not receive enhanced sentencing under the 2014 version of section 775.082(1)(b)(1).

         Bailey was resentenced under the 2014 version of section 775.082(1)(b)(1), which provides as follows:

A person who actually killed, intended to kill, or attempted to kill the victim and who is convicted under s. 782.04 of a capital felony, or an offense that was reclassified as a capital felony, which was committed before the person attained 18 years of age shall be punished by a term of imprisonment for life if, after a sentencing hearing conducted by the court in accordance with s. 921.1401, the court finds that life imprisonment is an appropriate sentence. If the court finds that life imprisonment is not an appropriate sentence, such person shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of at least 40 years. A person sentenced pursuant to this subparagraph is entitled to a review of his or her sentence in accordance with s. 921.1402(2)(a).

(Emphasis added.) Section 921.1402(2)(a) provides for a "review of his or her sentence after 25 years" unless the defendant has been convicted of an enumerated offense during a separate criminal transaction or episode.

         As for Bailey's claim that the statutory enhancement did not exist at the time of his indictment, the Florida Supreme Court holds that the 2014 version of section 775.082(1)(b)(1) applies retroactively "to all juvenile offenders whose sentences are unconstitutional under Miller." Horsley, 160 So.3d at 395. Furthermore, Bailey was charged in the indictment with killing the victim "with a premeditated design to effect the death of" the victim. Thus, the ground for enhancement-the element of intent necessary to support a sentence under section 775.082(1)(b)(1)-was charged in the charging document. See Rogers v. State, 875 So.2d 769, 771 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) ("The grounds for enhancement of a sentence must be charged in the information."); cf. Whitehead v. State, 884 So.2d 139, 140 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) (holding that defendant's sentence could not be enhanced based on a jury finding that he discharged a firearm where charging document only charged that he used a firearm).

         In addition, the jury specifically found Bailey guilty of first-degree premeditated murder. See § 782.04(1)(a)(1), Fla. Stat. (2007). Therefore, the finding of intent to kill was "inherent" in the guilty verdict. See Williams, 242 So.3d at 289 (holding that general verdict of first-degree murder did not constitute a jury finding of intent that would support a sentence under section 775.082(1)(b)(1) but recognizing that "a finding of intent to kill would have been inherent in a guilty verdict as to first-degree premeditated murder"); see also Robinson v. State, 256 So.3d 217, 218 n.1 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018) (rejecting similar challenge to defendant's sentence because he was charged only with first-degree premeditated murder and "so the jury's guilty verdict contain[ed] an inherent unambiguous finding of intent to kill"). The jury was instructed on a principal theory, and the jury found Bailey guilty of first-degree premeditated murder. See Williams, 242 So.3d at 289 (recognizing that the finding of intent would be inherent in verdict of first-degree premeditated murder "whether [the defendant] actually killed [the victim] or was a principal"); Fla. Std. Jury Instr. (Crim.) 3.5(a) ("If the defendant helped another person or persons [commit] [attempt to commit] a crime, the defendant is a principal and must be treated as if [he] [she] had done all the things the other person or persons did . . . ."). Thus, the necessary intent to kill was found by a jury, and Bailey's sentence does not run afoul of Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99, 108 (2013), which requires that "[f]acts that increase the mandatory minimum sentence . . . be submitted to the jury and found beyond a reasonable doubt." Because the 2014 version of section 775.082(1)(b)(1) applies retroactively to Bailey and the ground for enhancement was charged in the indictment and found by the jury, we reject Bailey's first challenge to his sentence.

         In his second point on appeal, Bailey argues that the forty-year minimum sentence in section 775.082(1)(b)(1) is unconstitutional for the same reasons set forth in Miller. He claims that the statute takes away the discretion of the trial court and requires the trial court to impose a certain sentence, despite the Supreme ...


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