Escaped convict Alberto Morales, has a long criminal record that includes a fascination with stealing exotic birds, shot several dogs to keep them quiet as he stole more than $250,000 worth of birds, was charged with reckless driving, driving without a license and possession of stolen property, domestic battery, cocaine possession, and in 2003, and additional 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault, and kidnapping.
Morales escaped from two Miami-Dade detectives who were escorting him from Florida to Las Vegas when they in the 1600 block of Texas 114. While stopped at a Wal-Mart to use the restroom, Morales stabbed one of the escorting detectives with a broken or sharpened piece of his eyeglasses and ran off.
Habitual offender laws significantly increase the prison sentences of those convicted of a felony who have been previously convicted of two or more violent crimes or serious felonies, and limits the ability of these offenders to receive a punishment other than a life sentence. Habitual offender laws are designed to counter criminal recidivism, particularly for violent and other serious offenses such as murder, home invasion robberies with one or more deadly weapons, and sexual offenses.
Under Florida Statute §775.084(1)(b), one may be classified as a habitual violent felony offender if the State proves the following two elements:
– One has a previous, separate conviction (not pardoned or set aside), for a felony, attempted felony, or conspiracy to commit a felony and one or more of these convictions were for common crimes such as murder, kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated battery related charges AND
– One was either serving some court ordered prison sentence or has some other court-ordered supervisory status imposed as a result of a prior conviction for a violent felony or commits the felony within five years of the date of the conviction of the last prior enumerated felony.
One must remember that if the Florida statute says that a judge “may” sentence one to an extended period in prison, the judge has discretion to choose whether to impose a greater sentence. However, if the statute reads “must” sentence, as it does with violent felony habitual offenders, then the judge has no discretion and must sentence one to the extended period.
If the State shows one qualifies to be considered a Habitual Violent Felony Offender, the court may impose up to double the maximum sentence for the crime one was charged with as an extended term of imprisonment in the following manner:
– 3rd Degree Felony – a term not exceeding 10 years, and one is not eligible for release for five years
– 2nd Degree Felony – a term not exceeding 30 years, and one is not eligible for release for ten years
– 1st Degree Felony or Life Felony – life sentence, and one is not eligible for release for fifteen years
Many times, the State Attorney’s Office attack Habitual Offender cases with as much force as possible. However, those that overzealously attack cases sometimes lack thoroughness in procedure and improper collection and preservation of evidence, leaving many possible defenses open for one’s experienced Jacksonville habitual offender crimes defense attorney to pursue that may quickly resolve one’s case.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Files show long record of escaped sex offender, Domingo Ramirez Jr., The Star Telegram