LI: Changes Proposed to Florida’s Infamous “10-20-Life” Sentencing Law


Looks like some changes may be coming for Florida's "10-20-Life" mandatory minimum sentencing scheme:

One of Florida's more interesting laws is the so-called "10-20-Life" statute, properly cited as §775.087 Possession or use of weapon; aggravated battery; felony reclassification; minimum sentence.  In a nutshell, §775.087 provides, among other things, for mandatory minimum sentences for the possession or use of a firearm while committing one of several enumerated violent crimes.  It appears likely now that some substantial changes will be made to §775.087, particularly in the context of self-defense.  (The PDF of the proposed revised bill is embedded at the bottom of this post.)

§775.087 has, of course, long been a target for groups who oppose mandatory minimum sentencing as a matter of policy.  More interestingly, it has also become a target for the self-defense advocacy community, who believe the statute has been used inappropriately against people who were merely acting in self-defense.

In effect, the statute lists 18 various crimes, and then establishes mandatory minimum sentences if a person convicted of one of those crimes was either in possession of or discharged a firearm while committing the underlying crime:

§775.087(2)(a)(1): Possession of firearm = 10 year mandatory minimum.

§775.087(2)(a)(2): Discharge of firearm = 20 year mandatory minimum.

§775.087(2)(a)(3): Discharge causing death or great bodily harm = 25 to life mandatory minimum.

Note that each of those mandatory minimum sentences is to run consecutively with (on top of) sentencing for the underlying crime.  Thus it's actually possible to receive a longer sentence for the "10-20-Life" portion of the offense than for the underlying offense itself.

For the whole post, click on over to Legal Insurrection.