LI: Changes Proposed to Florida’s Infamous “10-20-Life” Sentencing Law

Looks like some changes may be coming for Florida’s “10-20-Life” mandatory minimum sentencing scheme:

One of Florida’s more interesting laws is the so-called “10-20-Life” statute, properly cited as §775.087 Possession or use of weapon; aggravated battery; felony reclassification; minimum sentence.  In a nutshell, §775.087 provides, among other things, for mandatory minimum sentences for the possession or use of a firearm while committing one of several enumerated violent crimes.  It appears likely now that some substantial changes will be made to §775.087, particularly in the context of self-defense.  (The PDF of the proposed revised bill is embedded at the bottom of this post.)

§775.087 has, of course, long been a target for groups who oppose mandatory minimum sentencing as a matter of policy.  More interestingly, it has also become a target for the self-defense advocacy community, who believe the statute has been used inappropriately against people who were merely acting in self-defense.

In effect, the statute lists 18 various crimes, and then establishes mandatory minimum sentences if a person convicted of one of those crimes was either in possession of or discharged a firearm while committing the underlying crime:

§775.087(2)(a)(1): Possession of firearm = 10 year mandatory minimum.

§775.087(2)(a)(2): Discharge of firearm = 20 year mandatory minimum.

§775.087(2)(a)(3): Discharge causing death or great bodily harm = 25 to life mandatory minimum.

Note that each of those mandatory minimum sentences is to run consecutively with (on top of) sentencing for the underlying crime.  Thus it’s actually possible to receive a longer sentence for the “10-20-Life” portion of the offense than for the underlying offense itself.

For the whole post, click on over to Legal Insurrection.

About the Author

Andrew Branca
Andrew F. Branca, Esq. is currently in his third decade of practicing law, and is an internationally-recognized expert on the law of self-defense of the United States. Andrew is a Guest Lecturer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, a former Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-Benefactor Member, and an NRA Certified Instructor. He also teaches lawyers how to argue self-defense cases as a certified instructor with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) system in numerous states around the country. Andrew is also a host on the Outdoor Channel’s TV show “The Best Defense” and contributor to the National Review Online. Andrew has been quoted as a SME (subject-matter expert) on use-of-force law by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and many other mainstream media, including nationally syndicated broadcast media. Recently, Andrew won the UC Berkeley Law School debate on “Stand-Your-Ground,” and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting Law Symposium on self-defense law. He is also a founding member of USCCA’s Legal Advisory Board. In addition to being a lawyer, Andrew is also a competitive handgun shooter, an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13), and a Master-class competitor in multiple IDPA divisions.

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