final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Levy County. Mark W.
Thomas, Public Defender, and Glen P. Gifford, Assistant
Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, and Virginia Chester Harris,
Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Serrano appeals from an order resentencing him to life in
prison for his crimes committed as a juvenile. We affirm.
2005, Serrano, a seventeen-year-old high school student, and
four of his friends decided to rob nineteen-year-old Jacob
Langworthy while he was at home alone. After entering
Langworthy's home, Serrano held Langworthy at gunpoint
while the others ransacked the house looking for drugs and
money. When a car pulled up outside, Serrano fatally shot
Langworthy in the head and fled. For his part, Serrano was
tried and convicted of first-degree murder, home invasion
robbery, and conspiracy to commit home invasion robbery. He
received a sentence of life without parole for the murder, a
concurrent term of life with a twenty-five-year mandatory
minimum for the home invasion robbery, and a consecutive term
of fifteen years in prison for the conspiracy. We affirmed
his convictions and sentences in 2009. Serrano v.
State, 15 So.3d 629 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009).
years that followed, Serrano raised a series of
postconviction challenges based on new developments in the
law on juvenile sentencing. In 2012, following the United
States Supreme Court's decision in Graham v.
Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010),  the circuit court reduced
Serrano's life sentence for armed robbery to forty years
in prison with a mandatory-minimum term of twenty-five years
under the 10-20-Life statute. The same year, following the
decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012),
court resentenced Serrano on the murder count to life in
prison with the possibility of parole after twenty-five
2017, the court granted Serrano a new resentencing hearing on
both the murder and robbery counts under chapter 2014-220,
Laws of Florida, which amended Florida's juvenile
sentencing statutes in the wake of Graham and
Miller. At the resentencing hearing, the defense
presented four witnesses: the retired prison warden, a
forensic psychologist who evaluated Serrano, Serrano's
wife, and Serrano himself. The defense introduced
Serrano's artwork, his marriage certificate, pictures of
Serrano with his wife and stepson, letters he wrote to his
stepson, and certificates of achievement in Gospel Ministry
and completion of Biohazard Training.
State introduced documentation of Serrano's disciplinary
reports in prison, records showing his time in confinement,
and reports on gang-related activity. The State also
presented letters from several friends and family members of
the victim. The victim's mother, sister, grandmother, and
a friend spoke before imposition of the sentence. The written
and oral statements described the unrelenting pain the
victim's loved ones have been experiencing since the
victim's death and the incredible burden of having to
relive the details of the victim's murder through the
resentencing process. Many statements urged the court to
impose the maximum sentence, not to reduce the life sentence,
or to ensure that Serrano is never released.
the evidentiary hearing, the court analyzed the factors
specified in section 921.1401, Florida Statutes (2014), and
concluded that a life sentence remained appropriate for the
murder conviction. The court resentenced Serrano to life in
prison, with the right to judicial review after twenty-five
years under section 921.1402(2)(a), Florida Statutes. The
court also imposed concurrent sentences of fifteen years for
conspiracy and forty years for armed robbery, with the right
to judicial review after twenty years under section
Serrano's appeal from the new sentencing order.
first consider Serrano's argument that his constitutional
rights to a jury trial required the circuit court to empanel
a jury for his resentencing. He contends that allowing a
judge, rather than a jury, to determine whether a life
sentence is appropriate under the statutory factors in
section 921.1401 violates Apprendi v. New Jersey,
530 U.S. 466 (2000), and Hurst v. State, 202 So.3d
40 (Fla. 2016). As Serrano properly concedes in his reply
brief, this court rejected these arguments in Copeland v.
State, 240 So.3d 58, 59-60 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), for the
reasons expressed in Beckman v. State, 230 So.3d 77,
94-97 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017). We therefore affirm on this issue
without further discussion.
address Serrano's argument that the sentencing court
violated his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual
punishment when it weighed the wishes of the victim's
family and friends in deciding whether to sentence Serrano to
life in prison.
of background, section 921.1401(2) of the juvenile sentencing
statute directs the court to consider ten non-exhaustive
factors "relevant to the offense and the defendant's
youth and attendant circumstances" when determining
whether life is an appropriate sentence for a juvenile
homicide offender. One of the designated factors is
"[t]he effect of the crime on the victim's family
and the community." § 921.1401(2)(b), Fla. Stat.
the evidentiary portion of the resentencing hearing, the
court heard testimony and received letters from the
victim's family and friends. Serrano acknowledges that
the court properly considered the evidence about the
emotional impact of the murder on the victim's loved
ones. But he contends the court crossed the line by
considering their pleas for Serrano to receive the harshest
possible sentence. For support, he cites Booth v.
Maryland, which held, in part, that the Eighth Amendment
prohibits opinion testimony by a victim's family on the
appropriate sentence in a capital sentencing
proceeding. 482 U.S. 496, 502-03 (1987).
prevail on this issue, Serrano faces three obstacles. First,
because there was no objection below, the claim must be
cognizable for the first time on appeal as fundamental error.
Second, there must be some indication that the court
considered the victim's family members' opinions on
sentencing to determine the appropriate sentence. And
finally, the Eighth Amendment must indeed prohibit courts
from considering this type of victim-impact evidence in a
juvenile sentencing proceeding. None of these conditions has
Booth Errors are Not Fundamental
argues that the sentencing court's consideration of the
opinions from the victim's family about the appropriate
punishment is an Eighth Amendment violation under
Booth that can be raised for the first time on
appeal as ...