FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Putnam County, Patti A.
Jason White, Crestview, pro se.
Appearance for Appellee.
Jason White appeals the postconviction court's denial of
his Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a) motion to
correct illegal sentence. The court denied the motion for
being improperly successive. We affirm, but not for the
reason provided by the postconviction court.
2014, following a negotiated plea in two cases, the trial
court sentenced White to serve eleven years in prison for
trafficking in 4 grams or more of hydrocodone but less than
14 grams, with a three-year mandatory minimum provision.
White was also sentenced to serve eleven years in prison for
the sale of cocaine, with the sentences running concurrently.
No direct appeal was filed in either case.
alleged in his present rule 3.800(a) motion that his
eleven-year prison sentences are illegal because he should
have only been charged with possession of hydrocodone and
possession of cocaine, which he asserts are third-degree
felonies, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.
The postconviction court reviewed the record below and
determined that in 2015, White had unsuccessfully filed
"virtually the same motion." It therefore denied
the instant motion as successive. The court attached to the
present order a copy of the order denying White's prior
rule 3.800(a) motion.
rule 3.800(a) does not prohibit a defendant from filing
successive motions, the doctrine of collateral estoppel
precludes a defendant from raising in a successive rule
3.800(a) motion an issue argued and determined in a prior
motion. See State v. McBride, 848 So.2d 287, 290-91
(Fla. 2003). Here, the order denying White's earlier rule
3.800(a) motion that was attached to the present denial order
shows that White's prior motion was decided on unrelated
grounds. Thus, the postconviction court's reasoning for
denying White's instant motion was error. Typically, we
would reverse and remand for the lower court to address the
merits of the motion. However, under the "tipsy
coachman" doctrine, an appellate court may affirm a
lower court's decision that reaches the right result, but
for the wrong reason, so long as there is any basis in the
record to affirm the judgment or order. See Rolling v.
State, 218 So.3d 911, 912-13 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016)
(applying tipsy coachman to affirm an order denying a rule
3.800(a) motion that had been incorrectly denied as
argument for reversal is that the amount of the drugs
involved in these two charges, 9.4 grams of hydrocodone and
.9 grams of cocaine, is consistent with his personal usage.
Thus, he reasons that he could only have been charged with
possession of both drugs, which would be third-degree
felonies punishable by a maximum of up to five years'
incarceration. White's argument is meritless because
whether White trafficked in hydrocodone or sold cocaine, as
opposed to merely possessing these drugs for personal
consumption, is a factual dispute regarding his underlying
convictions. A rule 3.800(a) proceeding is not intended to
resolve factual disputes. See Nielson v. State, 984
So.2d 587, 590 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008). Rather, the issue to be
resolved in such a proceeding is whether, on the face of the
record and without an evidentiary hearing, the sentence is
"legal." Id. Trafficking in hydrocodone in
an amount of 4 grams or more but less than 14 grams is a
first-degree felony, punishable by up to thirty years in
prison, with a requisite three-year mandatory minimum
provision. Sale of cocaine is a second-degree felony,
punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. Thus, on the face
of our record, White's respective eleven-year prison
sentences, with the three-year mandatory minimum provision
for the trafficking conviction, are clearly
and SASSO, JJ., concur.