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

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.

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