Merle J. Stokes, Appellant, v. State of Florida, Appellee.

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Merle J. Stokes, Appellant, v. State of Florida, Appellee.

No. 4D14–945

Decided: February 22, 2017

Diamond R. Litty, Public Defender, and Usha Maharajh, Assistant Public Defender, Stuart, for appellant. Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and James J. Carney, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.


We grant defendant's motion for clarification, withdraw our previous opinion, and issue the following opinion in its place.

We reverse the order denying defendant's motion for postconviction relief and remand for resentencing pursuant to Atwell v. State, 197 So.3d 1040 (Fla. 2016), and Lawton v. State, 181 So.3d 452 (Fla. 2015). As to the life sentences imposed on the homicide and non-homicide counts, defendant is entitled to be resentenced pursuant to the sentencing provisions enacted in Chapter 2014–220, Laws of Florida. Atwell, 197 So.3d at 1050;  Lawton, 181 So.3d at 453.1

We disagree with the State's argument that defendant's entitlement to relief under Atwell depends on his presumptive parole release date. Michel v. State, 204 So.3d 101 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016) (certifying conflict with Stallings v. State, 198 So.3d 1081 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016), and Williams v. State, 198 So.3d 1084 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016)).

Reversed and remanded for resentencing.


1.   As to defendant's 30-year sentence for aggravated battery on a person over 65 years of age, this decision does not preclude defendant from seeking relief in the trial court pursuant to Kelsey v. State, 206 So.3d 5 (Fla. 2016).

Per Curiam.

Gross, May and Levine, JJ., concur.

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