For Immediate Release
March 10, 2000
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
The Florida Supreme Court, in its review of the case of Leon Curtis Heggs, determined chapter law 95-184 to be unconstitutional due to a violation of the single subject rule of the Florida Constitution. The chapter law contained substantial changes in the sentencing laws commonly referred to as the "1995 Sentencing Guidelines". In some cases, the 1995 sentencing guidelines provide for greater punishment than the 1994 sentencing guidelines. However, many offenders sentenced under the 1995 guidelines would score identically under the 1994 version of the sentencing laws.
A motion for rehearing was filed in the Heggs case on March 3, 2000. This means that the Heggs decision is not final. If the Florida Supreme Court denies the rehearing motion and the decision becomes final in its present form, some offenders may be entitled to be resentenced under the 1994 sentencing guidelines. Which offenders will be entitled to be resentenced is NOT a decision to be made by the Department of Corrections. Resentencings fall within the jurisdiction of the criminal courts.
The Florida Supreme Court declined to rule in the Heggs case as to when the window period closed for offenders claiming their guidelines sentences are invalid due to the amendments contained in chapter law 95-184. Therefore the applicable window period for eligibility remains to be resolved by the circuit and district courts. The Second District Court of Appeal held in Heggs that the window period opened on October 1, 1995 and closed on May 24, 1997. However, in Bortel v. State, the Fourth District determined that the window period opened on October 1, 1995 and closed on October 1, 1996.
Because the 85% minimum service requirement of section 944.275(4)(b)3 was not enacted in chapter law 95-184, the 85% minimum service requirement for offenses committed on or after October 1, 1995, remains in effect even if an offender is resentenced under the 1994 guidelines.
The Department of Corrections cannot advise an offender regarding eligibility under Heggs. Any offender seeking information regarding the impact of Heggs may wish to contact his or her defense counsel.