Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Washington

Florida Court of Appeals, Fifth District

August 23, 2019

STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellant,
v.
SHEDRICK LARON WASHINGTON, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Osceola County, Jon B. Morgan, Judge.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Kaylee D. Tatman, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.

          James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Andrew Mich, Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

          SASSO, J.

         The State appeals downward departure sentences imposed on Shedrick Laron Washington on multiple counts of drug offenses, arguing that the court's stated reason, sentence manipulation, is not supported by competent, substantial evidence. We agree and reverse.

         In 2017, the Kissimmee Police Department, with the assistance of the St. Cloud Police Department, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office Narcotic Enforcement Team, and the Drug Enforcement Agency, conducted an undercover sting operation in a specific area of Kissimmee near a public park. Using a confidential informant and undercover agents, the police made several purchases of small amounts of crack cocaine. At different times between October 5 and December 20, 2017, undercover agents and a confidential informant each purchased between $20 and $40 worth of crack cocaine from Washington. At one point, three different agents made purchases from Washington within the same hour.

         In four separate cases, the State charged Washington with delivery of cocaine within 1, 000 feet of a park. In two additional cases, the State charged Washington and a co-defendant with delivery of cocaine within 1, 000 feet of a park and conspiracy to deliver cocaine.

         The court conducted a plea and sentencing hearing on May 7, 2018.[1] Washington stated he had no objections to his scoresheet, which showed 151.5 months as the lowest permissible prison sentence. Before conducting an extensive colloquy, the court stated:

As you're aware, I had a plea conference with your lawyer and the prosecutor earlier this morning, and based on the facts of this case, your prior record, and the -- given the fact that multiple subsequent -- or multiple buys were made in basically this -- in the same situation during the course of the undercover operation, I did indicate to [defense counsel] that if you entered these pleas, the Court would impose a downward departure sentence of six years state prison.

         After accepting the pleas, the trial court orally pronounced that it would impose a downward departure sentence. The court stated that it could not find that law enforcement's intent in this case was to manipulate Washington's sentence. However, it found that the effect on Washington was the same as if law enforcement had intentionally delayed arrest and continued to make drug purchases to obtain a higher minimum sentence. The court characterized the circumstances as "de facto" sentence manipulation.

         The court adjudicated Washington guilty of all charges and, over the State's objection, entered downward departure sentences of six years in prison on the delivery of cocaine convictions in each case and five years in prison on each of the conspiracy convictions. The court specifically wrote "sentence manipulation" on the scoresheets as an "other reason" for the sentences imposed.

         Under the Criminal Punishment Code, the lowest permissible sentence calculated pursuant to the offender's scoresheet is "the minimum sentence that may be imposed by the trial court, absent a valid reason for departure." § 921.0024(2), Fla. Stat. (2017). Section 921.0026, Florida Statutes (2017), lists certain mitigating circumstances that justify departure. However, the trial court may impose a downward departure for reasons not delineated in section 921.0026, so long as the reason given is supported by competent, substantial evidence and not otherwise prohibited. State v. Laroe, 821 So.2d 1199, 1201-02 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002); State v. Barnes, 753 So.2d 605, 607 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) (citation omitted).

         We note that the State does not challenge whether the trial court's stated justification for the downward departure-sentence manipulation-is a valid legal basis for justifying a departure sentence. Thus, the only issue presented in this appeal is a narrow one: whether the trial court's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.