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Sentencing/Post Conviction

80 years for shooting a gun in the air? Florida’s top court mulls consecutive-sentence mandate

Posted Jun 5, 2014 10:03 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A man sent to prison for to 80 years for shooting a gun into the air was sentenced under an ambiguous law, his lawyer argued before the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Ronald Williams was convicted in 2010 of four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm for firing several shots into the air to scare away four men he believed to be flirting with him. The trial judge sentenced Williams to 20 years in prison for violation of each count of the state’s 10-20-life law.

Williams’ lawyer, Jonathan Kaplan, argued on Wednesday that the statute was ambiguous on whether consecutive sentences were required, report the Daily Business Review (sub. req.), the Associated Press and the Florida Times-Union.

At issue is this section of the law: "The court shall impose any term of imprisonment provided for in this subsection consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed for any other felony offense."

Kaplan argued the requirement for consecutive sentences applied only to felonies unrelated to the gun offense.

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