DARIEN A. HAUTER, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Citrus County, Richard A.
T. Forman, of Law Offices of Jason T. Forman, P.A., Ft.
Lauderdale, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Douglas T. Squire,
Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.
A. Hauter appeals two orders entered on the same day in two
cases below. The first order denied Hauter's motion to
disqualify the trial judge as "legally
insufficient." The second order, filed with the clerk of
the circuit court some fifteen minutes later, denied
Hauter's motion to mitigate his sentences under Florida
Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(c). We treat Hauter's
challenge to the denial of his motion for disqualification of
the trial judge as a petition for writ of
prohibition and, as briefly explained below, we grant
unnecessary to provide a detailed chronology that led up to
the events resulting in the filing of the motion to
disqualify the trial judge. Suffice it to say, Hauter stated
in his affidavit in support of his motion certain specific
facts showing that prior to his presentation of any evidence
or argument at his sentencing hearing for a downward
departure sentence, the judge had made comments that
indicated that he had predetermined that Hauter would receive
lengthy prison sentences. Such comments, which, for purposes of
the motion must be taken as true, provided Hauter with a
well-grounded fear that he would not receive a fair
sentencing hearing before the judge. See Livingston v.
State, 441 So.2d 1083, 1087 (Fla. 1983) (recognizing
that for a motion for disqualification to be legally
sufficient, "[t]he facts alleged in the motion need only
show that 'the party making it has a well grounded fear
that he will not receive a fair trial at the hands of the
judge'"); see also Dorch v. State, 952
So.2d 1244, 1245 (Fla. 3d DCA 2007) ("Florida's
courts have frequently held that a judge who has made
statements indicating that he or she has predetermined the
appropriate sentence is disqualified from presiding over the
entire proceeding." (quoting Konior v. State,
884 So.2d 334, 335 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004))).
State has commendably and understandably conceded that the
trial judge erred by failing to grant Hauter's
legally-sufficient motion to disqualify. We agree.
Accordingly, we grant the writ and prohibit the trial judge
from further presiding in the two cases below. Additionally,
under the circumstances, because the trial judge should have
disqualified himself prior to ruling on Hauter's rule
3.800(c) motion to mitigate sentences, we vacate those orders
as well, see Plaza v. Plaza, 21 So.3d 181, 182 (Fla.
3d DCA 2009) ("As a general rule, once an order
disqualifying a judge is entered, the judge is prohibited
from any further participation in the case."), to allow
the successor judge to rule on the merits of the
FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION GRANTED; WRIT ISSUED. ORDERS DENYING
MOTIONS FOR MITIGATION OF SENTENCES VACATED.
ORFINGER and HARRIS, JJ., concur.
 See Kline v. JRD Mgmt. Corp.,
165 So.3d 812, 813 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015) ("A petition for
writ of prohibition is the appropriate vehicle to test the
validity of the denial of a motion for
 Which the trial judge did
impose-Hauter received four concurrent life imprisonment
sentences together with other lesser ...