Life Sentence Fot Monetary Fraud but Eligibility for Parole Differs In States

In Rummel v. Estelle, 445 U.S. 263, 274, 63 L. Ed. 2d 382, 100 S. Ct. 1133 (1980), the defendant received a life sentence for obtaining $ 120.75 by false pretenses, after having been previously convicted of two monetary frauds totaling $ 108.36. Id. at 265-66. In upholding the defendant's life sentence, the Court emphasized that Texas had a "relatively liberal policy" that "historically has allowed a prisoner serving a life sentence to become eligible for parole in as little as 12 years." Id. at 280. "In Florida, parole-eligible inmates do not have a legitimate expectation of liberty or right to expect release on a certain date even after they have been given a specific Presumptive Parole Release Date"--much less when they are given a life sentence that allows for the possibility of parole. Meola v. Dep't of Corrections, 732 So. 2d 1029, 1034 (Fla. 1999). In fact, as one court has noted, "for many prisoners, the sentence imposed for capital sexual battery prior to [the Legislature's elimination of parole eligibility in] 1995 may result in a sentence just as long as a sentence imposed after 1995." Gibson v. State, 721 So. 2d at 369. (Fla. 2d DCA 1998),