FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Manatee County; Edward Nicholas,
L. Dimmig, II, Public Defender, and Matthew J. Salvia,
Assistant Public Defender, Bartow, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Pamela Cordova
Papasov, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee.
Dominque Williams appeals the sentences imposed after he
entered a no contest plea to the following counts: (1) sale
of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a convenience
business (carfentanil); (2) neglect of a child (without great
bodily harm); (3) driving while license cancelled, suspended,
or revoked; (4) sale of a controlled substance within 1000
feet of a convenience business (heroin); (5) possession of a
conveyance for sale of a controlled substance
(carfentanil/heroin); (6) sale or delivery of controlled
substance within 1000 feet of a public park (heroin); and (7)
possession of a conveyance for sale of a controlled substance
(heroin). Williams sought a downward departure sentence under
section 921.0026(2)(d), Florida Statutes (2016), on the basis
that he required specialized treatment for mental disorders
that were not related to substance abuse and that he was
amenable to treatment. He contends that the trial court erred
in determining that he did not legally qualify for a downward
departure under section 921.0026(2)(d). Because the trial
court's conclusion appears inconsistent with some of its
findings and it is unclear whether the trial court applied
the proper standard, we reverse the sentences and remand for
sentencing hearing, Dr. Regnier testified that he has a Ph.D.
in clinical psychology and has been qualified as an expert in
court. Based on a referral for an evaluation of whether
Williams met any criteria for mitigation, Dr. Regnier
evaluated Williams. Dr. Regnier reviewed the probable cause
affidavit and discovery materials and spoke with
Williams' mother. He administered two psychological tests
showed that Williams suffered from bipolar disorder, mood
disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr.
Regnier testified that Williams "clearly" had
"mental health problems." The doctor opined that
Williams had suffered several traumatic experiences in his
life that caused him to suffer from PTSD and explained some
of these events. Williams self-medicated with marijuana and
alcohol, and people with these disorders do this to calm
themselves down. A dual-diagnosis program would treat both
mental health problems and substance abuse.
Regnier testified that in prison Williams would get
medication that would "probably calm him down, but it
will not deal with the post-traumatic stress in the way that
it needs to be dealt with. It won't deal with the mood
disorder or the trauma that he's experienced that he
needs to work through with a therapist[.]" Williams
needed the therapy because he was "in complete
denial" and minimized the traumatic events. The doctor
recognized the need for a punishment component and suggested
"a county jail sentence followed by immediate admission
to a dual-diagnosis program and probation." Dr. Regnier
described specific programs and recommended one with
therapists who treat PTSD where Williams could get the
dual-diagnosis treatment that he needed. Dr. Regnier stated
that "in prison, that treatment would not be
cross-examination, Dr. Regnier explained that people with
PTSD often suppress emotions, and "[m]any times people
with serious mental disorder you can't tell, by looking
at them." On redirect, Dr. Regnier testified that
although Williams knew he was being evaluated for sentencing
purposes, Williams denied any mental health problems. Dr.
Regnier had sufficient time to meet with Williams and make a
determination on his mental health, explaining that an hour
or two to evaluate someone is standard in the field.
mother also testified about his background, her own mental
health issues that affected how she raised her children, and
that she never sought treatment for him. Williams' sister
and a retired United States Army sergeant with PTSD also
testified on Williams' behalf.
testified that he had learned a lot during the almost two
years he had been incarcerated and had enrolled in programs
like life skills and parenting to "learn how to become
a more productive citizen." If given the opportunity, he
was willing to get dual-diagnosis treatment.
State argued that Williams did not qualify for a downward
departure and that there was very little evidence of
depression. There was "no ongoing previous history"
and "no observations that he seemed to be exhibiting
depression or a lack of motivation or a lack of ability to
get up and carry on his daily life, or lack of ability to
take care of himself or communicate response
counsel asserted that it was not a matter of mere depression
but that a trained psychologist with thirty-five years of
experience diagnosed Williams as bipolar and suffering from
PTSD. Defense counsel argued that under section
921.0026(2)(d), Williams required specialized treatment for
the mental disorders of bipolar ...