September Case Law Update, Every Third Thursday, **Members Only Edition**

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CFACDL Monthly Case Law Update

A summary of cases reviewed for our members, by our members
Delivered to you every Third Thursday

Special thanks to CFACDL Director David Redfearn for his contributions


Issue: Does the amendment to s. 812.14, Fla. Stat. (2019) (raising third-degree grand theft monetary threshold from $300 to $750) apply retroactively? (yes)

Rule: If, during pendency of a prosecution, the legislature amends the law to reduce a penalty or punishment and a defendant has not yet been sentenced, then the amended law reducing the penalty should apply to the defendant’s benefit. This case shows how the newly-enacted s. 775.022(4) operates in light of voters’ 2018 approval of ballot Amendment 11, amending article X, section 9, Florida Constitution (the “Savings Clause”).

Citation:Dean v. State, No. 5D20-1097 (Fla. 5th DCA Sept. 4, 2020) (Wallis, J., Evander, C.J. and Edwards, J., concur)

Facts and Analysis: Omitted

Held: The trial court denied D’s motion to dismiss, citing Stapleton v. State, 286 So. 3d 837 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019). But the trial court’s reliance on Stapleton is misplaced, the DCA held, because the trial court in Stapleton sentenced D before 775.022(4) went into effect [ed. – Judge Craner sentenced Stapleton on Oct. 10, 2018, see State v. Stapleton, No. 48-2016-CF-002264-A-O, Sentence, (Fla. 9th Cir. Ct. Oct. 10, 2018) (Craner, J.)]. Unlike in Stapleton,
here D had not yet been sentenced when the amended theft statute became effective. Held: The trial court (Young, J.) erred by denying D’s motion to dismiss, and besides the passage of 775.022 divested the circuit court of jurisdiction to hear this case. Petition for writ of prohibition granted[ed. – prohibition works as a remedy because the Court acted in excess of its jurisdiction].

Keywords775.022(4); Art. X, s. 9, Fla. Const.; savings clause; prohibition writ; jurisdiction; subject matter jurisdiction; grand theft; retroactive.