On What Basis Did the Court Determine That the Defendant's Sentence Was Illegal Even Though It Did Not Violate Double Jeopardy
In Grant v. State, 770 So. 2d 655 (Fla. 2000), a defendant had been sentenced to fifteen years as a habitual felony offender, with a mandatory minimum term of fifteen years as a prison releasee reoffender. See 770 So. 2d at 657.
The defendant challenged his sentence, claiming it violated the prohibition against double jeopardy. See id. Relying on Cotton, we again held that the the Prison Releasee Reoffender Punishment Act (PRRPA) provides a mandatory minimum sentence, and, therefore, "the imposition of an applicable longer, concurrent term of imprisonment with a [PRRPA] mandatory minimum sentence does not violate double jeopardy." Id. at 658.
The court also relied on the intent of the Legislature in rendering our decision in Grant, reasoning that "the Legislature's intent both to provide a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment pursuant to the [PRRPA] and to allow for imposition of the greatest sentence authorized by law is clear." Id. at 659.
Although we held that the sentence did not violate double jeopardy, we did nevertheless determine that the defendant's sentence was illegal. See Grant, 770 So. 2d at 659.
The court reasoned that because the PRRPA "'only authorizes the court to deviate from the [Act's] sentencing scheme to impose a greater sentence of incarceration,' a trial court is 'without authority to sentence [a defendant to an equal sentence] under the habitual felony offender statute,' even where such sentence is imposed concurrently with the [PRRPA] sentence.
Thus, the trial court erred in imposing two concurrent, equal sentences in this case, not because such sentencing violated double jeopardy, but because it is not authorized by the Act." Id. (quoting Walls v. State, 765 So. 2d 733, 734 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000)).