Henry v. State, 175 So. 3d 675 (Fla. 2015)Juvenile defendant (age 17 at time of crimes) was convicted of multiple nonhomicide offenses (e.g., sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, burglary, etc.). He was sentenced to life in prison (sex offenses) and 60 years (all other offenses), to run consecutively. Graham was decided during the pendency of the defendant’s appeals. The defendant filed a motion to correct. The trial court granted the motion and resentenced the defendant to concurrent 30 year sentences (sex offenses) and the remaining 60 year sentence to be served consecutively, for a total effective term of 90 years in prison. The Florida Supreme Court remanded for resentencing, reasoning that Graham applies to aggregate sentences for multiple offenses that deprive a juvenile offender with a meaningful opportunity to obtain release.

The court held “that the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment under Graham is implicated when a juvenile nonhomicide offender’s sentence does not afford any ‘meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.’” (citations omitted). “Graham requires a juvenile nonhomicide offender, such as Henry, to be afforded such an opportunity during his or her natural life. Because Henry’s aggregate sentence, which totals [90] years and requires him to be imprisoned until he is at least nearly [95] years old, does not afford him this opportunity, that sentence is unconstitutional under Graham . . . we believe that the Graham Court had no intention of limiting its new categorical rule to sentences denominated under the exclusive term of ‘life in prison.’ Instead, we have determined that Graham applies to ensure that juvenile nonhomicide offenders will not be sentenced to terms of imprisonment without affording them a meaningful opportunity for early release based on a demonstration of maturity and rehabilitation.” (internal citations omitted).

The court concluded “that the Eighth Amendment will not tolerate prison sentences that lack a review mechanism for evaluating this special class of offenders for demonstrable maturity and reform in the future because any term of imprisonment for a juvenile is qualitatively different than a comparable period of incarceration for an adult.” Remanded for resentencing in accordance with Laws of Florida ch. 2014-220.