Should the Defendant Be Informed of the Reasonable Consequences of Habitualization Before Sentencing Him Under the Habitual Felony Statute ?

In State v. Thompson, 735 So. 2d 482, 485 (Fla. 1999), the defendant pled guilty to numerous charges, and, subsequent to the plea, the State successfully sought enhanced penalties under the habitual felony statute. See Thompson, 735 So. 2d at 483. On appeal, the district court held that although the State gave written notice of its intent to habitualize, the court's failure to confirm that the defendant was personally aware of the reasonable consequences of habitualization, pursuant to Ashley v. State, 614 So. 2d 486 (Fla. 1993), was fatal to the habitual sentence imposed. See 735 So. 2d at 483-84. Subsequently, the court held that while a violation of the requirement to give written notice may be viewed as a purely legal issue, an assertion of the involuntariness of a plea based upon the alleged violation of the requirement that the defendant be informed of the reasonable consequences of habitualization requires a fact-based analysis and determination. See id. at 486.