WGCU Radio Staff
Wed September 18, 2013
State Supreme Court Hears Juvenile Sentencing Case
The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case involving a teen who was sentenced to 70 years in prison for crimes committed when he was 14.
Shimeeka Gridine, now 18, pled guilty to attempted first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery after he shot a man while trying to rob a Jacksonville gas station. He was sentenced to 70 years for the attempted murder and 25 years for the armed robbery.
Assistant Public Defender Gail Anderson says she's hoping the justices will make Gridine eligible for parole after he serves the 25 years. She also says they could rule that he be re-sentenced.
"That's what the district courts have been doing – just ordering a re-sentencing", Anderson said. "But that just leaves everybody in the same limbo they've been in up to now."
Three years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled that life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles in non-homicide cases. Gridine's case is one of several that have surfaced in Florida courts since then.
The Legislature has taken up bills that would have allowed life sentences for juveniles with the possibility of release after 20 years if they show signs of rehabilitation. But so far, none has passed.