Under Section 985.565, a child who is found to have perpetrated a Miami juvenile crime can be committed to the Juvenile Justice Department for treatment in an appropriate program or be put on juvenile probation as an alternative to going through adult court. Section 985.565(3) requires a pre-sentence investigation report to include a comments section prepared by the Department of Juvenile Justice, recommending whether it thinks the defendant is suitable for disposition as a juvenile or an adult. In a recent Florida appellate decision, the appellant challenged his sentence on the basis that his pre-sentence investigation report didn’t go into the Department of Juvenile Justice System’s recommendations.
The defendant, when he was 17, had been charged with lewd and lascivious battery. The prosecutor used its discretion under Florida Statute section 985.557(1)(b). and filed charges against the appellant as an adult. While the case was pending, he was charged with two counts of grand theft.
The defendant pled to the charges. The pre-sentence investigation report was prepared. He didn’t object to the information specified in that report at sentencing. Rather he disagreed and told the court that it looked like the person who prepared the report hadn’t spoken to the state attorney, the public defender or the victim. The prosecutor asked for 12 years. The defense attorney argued for a youthful offender sentence that would last a year in jail with probation to follow. The defense attorney didn’t mention juvenile sentencing.