Appeals Court Overturns Local Juvenile Sentence; Says 80 Years Equals Life

April 13, 2012

A Florida appeals court Thursday tossed out an 80-year prison sentence for a Cantonment man convicted of committing two armed robberies in Cantonment as a juvenile, saying it violates a U.S Supreme Court ban on life sentences for juveniles in non-murder cases.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal said the sentence for Antonio Demetrius Floyd, now 31,  is the “functional equivalent of a life sentence without parole.”

Floyd was 17 in 1998 when he committed two counts of armed robbery in Cantonment. He was initially sentenced to life in prison, but after the U.S. Supreme Court decision he was re-sentenced to 40 years on each count, according to Thursday’s ruling. The appeals court said Floyd would be 97 years old if he served the full sentence and ordered that the trial court revise the sentence.

“In this case, common sense dictates that (Floyd’s) 80-year sentence, which … is longer than his life expectancy, is the functional equivalent of a life without parole sentence and will not provide him with a meaningful or realistic opportunity to obtain release,” the court ruled.

Floyd, who lived in North Chipper Road in Cantonment,  stole a vehicle on November 24, 1998 and robbed an E-Z Serve convenience store at 2110 South Highway 95A and another at 10 Williams Ditch Road.

Within minutes of the early morning robberies, an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant spotted a maroon GEO Storm departing the area at a high rate of speed. The deputy lost sight of the vehicle, but it was located abandoned a short time later on Richardson Road. Numerous items taken during the robberies were found inside of the vehicle.

Floyd was tracked a residence in the 4500 block of Richardson Road where Floyd was found in the living room. Clothing was also found that matched the description from the robberies. More than $300 was taken during the robbery on Highway 95A, while less than $300 was taken from the robbery on Williams Ditch Road, according to a 1998 arrest report.

In their Thursday ruling, court also encouraged state lawmakers to address juvenile sentencing to comply with the 2010 Supreme Court decision, which found that life sentences for young offenders in non-murder cases violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Lawmakers during this year’s session considered two bills about the issue, but the House and Senate did not come to agreement


27 Responses to “Appeals Court Overturns Local Juvenile Sentence; Says 80 Years Equals Life”

  1. Teretha on April 28th, 2012 11:27 pm

    At first i was for life in prison for those who commit murder just for the real bad ones. but it touched home. My 14yr son was charged and convicted to two life sentenced without a chance of parole.for his part in a murder case. with little knowledge of the law life in prison meant 25yr and less for good behaivor . i was ok with my child serving 25yrs for his part in a crime that took a person life, even though he was not the gun man. Then lets look at the nature of the crime. my child was convicted by the evidence. no eye witness, no finger prints to place him at the sence of the crime and no waepon.he was convicted base on a codefendent testimony. 17yr codefendant who place all the blame on a 14yr. when you read about juveniles involved with act of violance there is always somebody older invovled ye the younger receive the bulk of the time. plaese help me understand the way of the law. and some of the people that feels its ok for a youth not to deserve a second chance. I guess it have not hit home.

  2. tk on April 17th, 2012 11:39 pm

    I think that he should get a second chance in this world. He was only 17 when he mad a bad choice to commit these crimes but with the right teaching and help steering him in the right direction he could make it on the out side . I don’t see why they would sentence this child to 80 years to begin with. I could understand if he killed someone . Yes he was wrong and I think he has done his time. We want know if he will commit a nother crime or not only god knows but atleast we can give him a chance.

  3. David Huie Green on April 17th, 2012 5:18 am

    Please consider the two statements:
    “The boy was 17 and really never stood a chance to begin with.“
    “If he has a chance on the outside, I’m for giving him that chance. “

    Of course you probably meant he didn’t have a chance after the crimes because of the harsh sentence rather than he never had a chance because he had to commit armed robbery.

    Fine. Turn him loose now. Maybe he won’t kill anyone I care about. It should definitely be safer for corrections officers to release him.

    David with change of heart

  4. billy on April 17th, 2012 2:08 am

    80 years aint enough

  5. No Excuses on April 16th, 2012 9:19 pm

    Sigh. David, you disappoint me. Can you prove to me that this young man (this one, not any other) will main, kill, harm or rob anyone else? No, you can’t, any more than I can prove he won’t. I just don’t subscribe to the philosopy that someone who is an inmate needs to be euthanized or thrown away if there may be any chance at all of rehabilitating them.

    I don’t want others hurt. If he is better off in prison and not harming others, I’m all for him staying there. If he has a chance on the outside, I’m for giving him that chance. I don’t believe we will ever know as I am pretty certain with the guidelines currently in place that he won’t be out anytime soon.

  6. David Huie Green on April 16th, 2012 5:53 pm

    “I’m not a bleeding heart liberal, believe me!”

    Oh, but I AM. Really. If I knew any way to be sure he would never hurt anybody, I would want him released immediately. I sincerely hope someone comes up with a method to make it possible. I don’t want to waste other people’s money making him an involuntary ward of the state.

    But I’m a bleeding heart liberal for others too. For the people he has made clear he would kill if they got in his way. For the children who would become orphans at his free hands. For the widows and widowers and childless couples he would create if he decided they were between him and another haul.

    (Of course, a real liberal is liberal with what he has, not one who is liberal with the property and lives of others.)

    It’s easy to say he never had a chance because of whatever reason, but is it true? Haven’t others in worse situations decided to rise above it and be decent people? If he is really hopeless from the start, we need to consider euthanasia to end his miserable life and protect others.

    I just don’t go along with the philosophy which calls it a success when a third of released inmates aren’t captured after doing more heinous crimes after being released. My liberal heart cares for all the others who are harmed by such releases.

    Again, find a way to prove him safe to release on the general population or make him safe and I will favor releasing him immediately.

    David for freedom for all

  7. No Excuses on April 16th, 2012 2:42 pm

    “David for liberality”

    David, I normally like your blogs, but your tone and diction in your return blog to my post make it apparent you completely missed my drift. The boy was 17 and really never stood a chance to begin with. Ye, he would probably still have been a career criminal unless someone had intervened in this young man’s life. After 14 years in prison, he’s learned nothing but to be criminal, UNLESS he was fortunate enough to be mentored by some staff and inmates dedicated to helping others reform and not come back to prison.

    I work in a prison, therefore I am VERY aware that some model inmates do not make model citizens. You are preaching to the choir, brother.

    Also, I am a very conservative person – not liberal at all. I just believe that we do need to give others a chance to succeed or fail. I know what the track records of individuals like this young man look like – but as I said, if no one can change, then what it the point in any of this? We can’t just lock people up and throw away the key if there is an opportunity to salvage them. That’s really all i was saying. I’n not a bleeding heart liberal, believe me!

  8. David Huie Green on April 15th, 2012 8:43 am

    “It doesn’t provide ANY CHANCE for this young man to grow up and to see the error of his ways!! ”

    It DOES allow him to grow up and see the error of his ways. It just doesn’t allow him to continue to threaten store clerks in the mean time. It also doesn’t allow him to enjoy life the way he would have had he not done so.

    I know armed robbery must seem like a petty thing to you but please consider what it actually involves: Assuming the use of a gun, a person points a machine at some poor girl who’s just trying to earn enough to feed her family without sponging off the rest of us. A movement of his finger of a fraction of an inch will set off a small explosive charge driving a slug of lead into her body, killing or crippling her. The person who does such a thing wants $300 more than he is willing to let her live out her life.

    Then he does it again. Every armed robbery is attempted murder because the robber has made it clear he is willing to murder for pennies. He will continue to do it until he is stopped.

    And then he goes before a judge and shows no sign of conscience, just anger that he didn’t get more and get away with it. He may even be thinking how he would be free right now if he just hadn’t left any living witnesses. He promises himself not to make that mistake next time.

    Then that mean old judge tells him he doesn’t get a next time.

    But thankfully, now he WILL get a next time and he’ll do it right then. No witnesses.

    David for lessons learned

  9. 429SCJ on April 15th, 2012 8:01 am

    He will make up for it in the long run, as his career progresses.

  10. CD on April 14th, 2012 10:41 pm

    Someone asked “what were you doing at 17″? To that person I can say that most of us were not doing armed robberies. The most serious “crimes” most people commit are driving over the posted speed limit.

  11. CD on April 14th, 2012 10:25 pm

    How do some of you come to such conclusions? This young person threatened to kill someone if they didn’t do what he wanted them to. He was prepared to KILL them. Don’t you understand that? Now you want him back on the streets. What if you or your spouse or children are working in the next place he robs. Be sure, he will rob again. What are YOU willing to sacrifice if you or a loved one doesn’t act quick enough to suit him?

  12. Candace Spears on April 14th, 2012 5:24 pm


    Sending a 17 year old young man (a KID) to prison for 80 YEARS for armed robbery IS a death sentence!! It doesn’t provide ANY CHANCE for this young man to grow up and to see the error of his ways!! The fact that it took our country’s supreme court more than 15 years to catch up with your insane, “hang ‘em high” brand of justice is utterly ludicrous!!

    What were all of you doing when you were 17 years old?! My guess is that you probably broke a few laws as well. The malicious over-sentencing of this kid is like YOU being sentenced to 5 years in prison for being caught for illegal, under aged drinking and wreckless driving when YOU were 17 years old.

  13. David Huie Green on April 13th, 2012 11:22 pm

    “And just what is the average life expectancy for a male in the united States?”

    According to the Center for Disease Control Vital Statistics Report, ( page 2, Table A)

    a 30 year old black male can actuarially expect to live 42.7 more years.
    A 35 year old black male can actuarially expect to live 38.2 more years.
    Interpolating for a 31 year old yields an expectation of 41.8 more years.

    So on average, he is expected to live to age 72 to 73. (If he were a black female, he could expect an extra six years, so surgery might help.)

    David for releasing accordingly
    (old softy that I am)

  14. Terri Sanders on April 13th, 2012 7:16 pm

    And just what is the average life expectancy for a male in the united States?

  15. David Huie Green on April 13th, 2012 7:05 pm

    “Two forty year sentences might be appropriate if he murdered someone.”

    Why wouldn’t the death sentence be appropriate in that instance? It wouldn’t be a _“heat of the moment”_ type of thing. Every armed robbery is an _“I’ll kill you if you don’t give me exactly what I want from you”_ type thing. If you point a gun at others to force them to give up what they own or to submit to any of your other desires, you have already set in motion events which are likely to end in their death.

    “Unfortunately, going in at such an early age has probably just made him a career criminal at this point,- – -”

    And what would he be by now if he had not been stopped?

    Even if he is a model prisoner, that does not mean he will be a model citizen or even just a non killing citizen once released. All it really means is that he is willing to do what will keep him from being beaten to death in prison while any guards are watching.

    He chose to do what he did and we can’t change his mind for him. I’m not sure we would want that kind of power or we might decide reprogram everybody to agree with us.

    But maybe his days of terrorism are over and he will be a perfect person. Those who want him released now should take him in and help him walk the straight and narrow.

    David for liberality

  16. No Excuses on April 13th, 2012 12:59 pm

    I am a believer in consequences for actions. Two forty year sentences might be appropriate if he murdered someone. I think the 20 years proposed by Jimbo for robbing the stores and using a firearm is fair IF the guy is behaving and showing a change of heart. If a person is incarcerated for what they perceive to be “life’ they don’t do much to change, and they are a danger to staff and other inmates. Perhaps if there is a glimmer of hope that he’ll get out, he may try to rehabilitate. Unfortunately, going in at such an early age has probably just made him a career criminal at this point, and he’ll end up doing life anyway, for the most part. People CAN change though – if they can’t, then what’s the point?

  17. Well on April 13th, 2012 12:09 pm

    Kathy is right, he should at least get a chance to come back and kill someone the next time he is robbing them.

  18. EMD on April 13th, 2012 10:52 am

    Punishment not fitting the crime, unless there is much we do not know. Most seem to get less time for much worse offenses. Do NOT understand our court system.

  19. kevin on April 13th, 2012 10:14 am

    To charlie w yeah our court system is a joke when the guilty ones walk away and the inocent one go tp prison

  20. David Huie Green on April 13th, 2012 9:52 am

    They’re right. He shouldn’t be held a day over the age of 80.

    David for early release

  21. Jimbo on April 13th, 2012 9:24 am

    This character should get somewhat of a respite. He’s been “in” for 14 years.
    A few more should be sufficiant to prove the state’s point. If the state can jail a tax offender for 10 years, 2 robberies for 20 years… if he’s behaving.

  22. Mike on April 13th, 2012 9:23 am

    Judges used to have backbones and gave out stiff punishment when people committed violent crimes now they get probation and when they violate their probation they give 6 more months probation out court system is a joke now here in escambia county. We need a new states attorney as well!!

  23. Kim on April 13th, 2012 9:13 am

    This is the thing. He has already been in to long and really let out. Sorry. But, know fact all he will know is prison life. He will not make it on the outside even with rehab. So, that means he will end up back in after committing other crimes.

  24. Doug on April 13th, 2012 8:50 am

    Wow… There has to be more to this case. Two consecutive 40 year sentences is a lot for armed robbery. Did he have an extensive criminal record? I’m asking, because recently we’ve saw people do more harm and the punishment was far less. Just saying…

  25. Jane on April 13th, 2012 8:32 am

    So what now? They slap his wrist and turn him loose to commit more crimes?

  26. charlie w. on April 13th, 2012 8:19 am

    To many judges. To many different courts. No common sense. And then there is the “supreme” court.

    Our justice system is nothing but a joke, and the tax payers are funding it.

  27. Kathy on April 13th, 2012 7:26 am

    Thank God, some common sense finally.