District Court of Appeal of Florida,First District.
James Edward SCAIFE, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decided: May 17, 2000
Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender; and Archie F. Gardner, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant. Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General; Lori D. Stith and L. Michael Billmeier, Assistant Attorneys General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Edward Scaife (Appellant) appeals the trial court's reclassification of his second-degree felony aggravated battery conviction, as a first-degree felony for sentencing purposes. Appellant was convicted of “aggravated battery with great bodily harm or with a firearm.” Appellant argues that the alternative manner in which the aggravated battery was charged allowed the jury to convict on a theory of aggravated battery with great bodily harm or aggravated battery with a firearm and, under such circumstances, reclassification is improper. We agree and reverse.
Reclassification of an aggravated battery conviction from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony is error when it is unclear from the verdict form whether a defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, for which reclassification is available, or aggravated battery with the use of a firearm, for which reclassification is not available because use of a firearm is an essential element of the offense. See Montgomery v. State, 704 So.2d 548 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997); McNeal v. State, 653 So.2d 1122 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995). In the case at bar, the jury's verdict provided that Appellant was: “Guilty of aggravated battery with great bodily harm or with a firearm.” Because it is unclear from the verdict form whether the jury convicted Appellant of aggravated battery with use of a firearm, or aggravated battery with great bodily harm, reclassification was error. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for resentencing under a corrected sentencing guidelines scoresheet. Upon resentencing, as agreed by the parties in their briefs, Appellant should receive a three-year minimum mandatory sentence for the use of a firearm.
REVERSED and REMANDED.
MINER and BENTON, JJ., CONCUR.
Was this helpful?
Welcome to FindLaw's Cases & Codes
A free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.