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 Duval County. Linda F.
Thomas, Public Defender, and Kathleen Stover, Assistant
Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, and Tabitha Herrera, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Singleton committed the offense of armed burglary when he was
twenty-six years old and received a mandatory life sentence
as a prison releasee reoffender. Singleton argues that his
enhanced sentence violates the Eighth Amendment because it is
predicated on a prior conviction for an offense committed
when he was a juvenile. We disagree and affirm.
prison releasee reoffender statute permits enhancement of a
sentence when an offender commits a qualifying offense within
three years of being released from prison after completing a
sentence for a prior qualifying conviction. §
775.082(9), Fla. Stat. (2016). The predicate offense for
Singleton's prison releasee reoffender sentence was a
2006 conviction for an armed robbery committed when Singleton
was fifteen years old. He was sentenced to eight years in
prison and was released on December 9, 2013, when he was
twenty-three years old. Less than three years later,
Singleton committed the offense of armed burglary. Because he
committed the new offense within three years of his release
from prison for his sentence for the armed robbery, the State
sought an enhanced sentence under the prison release
reoffender statute. § 775.082(9), Fla. Stat. (2016).
Citing Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010),
Singleton argues that the enhancement of his sentence based
on an offense committed when he was a juvenile violates the
Graham, the Supreme Court held that Florida's
practice of sentencing juvenile offenders to life sentences
for nonhomicide crimes violated the Eighth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. 560 U.S. at 74-75. "[T]he
constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment under Graham is implicated when a
juvenile nonhomicide offender's sentence does not afford
any meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on
demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation" during his or
her natural life. Henry v. State, 175 So.3d 675, 680
(Fla. 2015) (quotes omitted).
we note that Singleton's eight-year sentence for the
crime he committed as a juvenile did not violate
Graham; he was not sentenced to a life sentence or a
de facto life sentence. See Hart v. State, 255 So.3d
921, 927 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) (holding that defendant's
fifty-year sentence did not violate Graham);
Davis v. State, 214 So.3d 799, 799-800 (Fla. 1st DCA
2017) (holding that defendant's thirty-five-year
aggregate sentence did not violate Graham).
Nevertheless, Singleton's eight-year prison sentence
afforded him a meaningful opportunity for release during his
natural life. He was released after serving six years and
eight months of his sentence. Then, at the adult age of
twenty-six, he committed the felony offense of armed
though Graham did not bar his original sentence for
the crime he committed as a juvenile, Singleton argues that
Graham prevents the trial court from using that
juvenile conviction to enhance his sentence for a crime he
committed as an adult. We disagree. Graham's
prohibition against life without parole sentences for
juvenile offenders does not extend to adult reoffenders like
Singleton. And "[t]he Court in Graham did not
call into question the constitutionality of using prior
convictions, juvenile or otherwise, to enhance the sentence
of a convicted adult." United States v. Scott,
610 F.3d 1009, 1018 (8th Cir. 2010); see also Hastie v.
State, 267 So.3d 1037, 1037 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019) (holding
that consideration of defendant's juvenile burglary
offense to support a violent career criminal designation for
crime committed as an adult was proper); United States v.
Robinson, 489 Fed.Appx. 676, 678 (4th Cir. 2012)
(holding that enhancing the defendant's sentence based on
juvenile conviction and sentence did not violate the Eighth
Amendment under Graham because the defendant was an
adult when he committed the offense for which his sentence
was enhanced); see also United States v. Graham, 622
F.3d 445, 462-63 (6th Cir. 2010).
the language of the prison releasee reoffender statute is
plain: it applies to any person who commits a qualifying
offense within three years after being released "from a
state correctional facility operated by the Department of
Corrections." § 775.082(9), Fla. Stat. (2016).
Nothing in the text of the statute indicates that a
defendant's age at the time of his prior conviction and
sentence is relevant to the application of section
775.082(9). See, e.g., Tatum v. State, 922
So.2d 1004 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006) (holding that enhancing
defendant's sentence under section 775.082(9) based on
prior commitment and release from a "youthful offender
boot camp" was proper because the prison releasee
reoffender statute makes no distinction between youthful
offender commitments and adult commitments). The plain
language of the statute controls. English v. State,
191 So.3d 448, 450 (Fla. 2016). Accordingly, the enhancement
of Singleton's sentence to a mandatory life sentence as a
prison releasee reoffender under section 775.082(9) was
Thomas and ...