posted 2016 | State v. J.S.
This is a prime example of how a smart and experienced attorney can change the game. Client was arrested and charged with second degree grand theft, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Client entered an open plea with a local attorney and was sentenced to 6 years in prison. The client was granted a week furlough and was told that if he failed to appear in court, he would automatically be sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The client failed to appear for court and moved out of state for 6 years. The client was arrested in another state as a result of a traffic stop, which revealed an active Florida warrant. When he was brought back to Florida, the judge remanded the client into custody to serve his 15 year sentence. The judge refused to impose a new sentence, but indicated that he was merely remanding the client.
Client hired Mr. Forman to see what could be done. Unfortunately, due to the lapse of 6 years, all of the deadlines and timelines expired. This prevented the client from appealing his sentence or filing a motion for post conviction relief under rule 3.850. However, Mr. Forman had an idea that was meant to re-start the clock for the expired deadline in the case.
As an experienced appellate lawyer, Mr. Forman knew that the court had to find that a client willfully failed to appear in court before the maximum sentence could be imposed. Mr. Forman filed a motion and was granted a hearing. Although the client was sure to lose the motion, Mr. Forman wanted to re-start the clock.
Knowing that the motion was most likely going to be unsuccessful, Mr. Forman fought hard for the client and was able to convince the State to reduce the 15 year prison sentence to a 7 year sentence followed by 3 years of probation! The State agreed to do this even though they had all of the leverage. Mr. Forman was able to convince them to negotiate because they believed that the case would be re-opened on appeal. Client is currently serving his reduced sentence and is grateful for the help!