5th District Court of Appeal
Case No. 5D23-844
February 2024

Dewayne Flowers vs. State of Florida

Did Not Participate

No items found.

Case Details


In this decision, there was a unanimous ruling to affirm the trial court's judgement and sentence.  This stops the appeal and releases the attorney from the case. The majority also corrected what they saw as an error in the sentence, which caused a partial dissent. The ruling reads:

"The written judgements and sentences [match what the judge said in court], with one exception: ... the ten-year mandatory minimum was imposed only to Count 2 and not ... Count 1. It is clear that the failure ... was a clerical or ministerial error ..."

Most of the written opinion focuses on the majority taking the initiative to change the trial court's official sentence. They found that the written sentence was inconsistent with the judge's intended sentence. They point out that the written sentence did not match the sentence that the judge pronounced in court or other documents. Based on this, the majority believe the judge intended to sentence the appellant to a mandatory minimum of ten years for each count. One of the counts did not include this mandatory minimum, and they adjusted the sentence to include it.

They also noted a legal basis fro the appellant not being present for the change to his sentence.

Partial Dissent: Judge Eisnaugle

"... I agree we must affirm the judgement and sentence. However, I conclude that this court has no authority to [without prompting] take up the sentencing error ..."

Eisnaugle agrees that the judgement and sentence should be affirmed. But he does not believe the appellate court is allowed to change the sentence during this review, even if they believe they found an error.

He explains that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that appellate courts can only review a trial court case to look for errors that-- if fixed-- would benefit the defendant, not the government. Fixing this error only benefits the State.

On top of that restriction, he points out that it is not a question the Court has been asked to consider. Neither the appellant or the State has asked them to rule on the potential sentencing error. It is out of the scope of their review. Eisnaugle says the "majority creates a new type of reverse Anders review". It is this part of the ruling he is dissenting.

Read the full ruling


Flowers pled guilty and was convicted of three armed robberies and murder in the second degree for the shooting death of a security guard. After he was sentenced, he requested an appeal.

The appellant's court-appointed lawyer filed an Anders brief with the Appeal court. An Anders brief is filed when an appellant requests an appeal to be filed, but the appointed attorney doesn't believe the appeal will be successful and would like to be removed from the case. The lawyer outlines the case and includes all possible issues that could be considered for appeal. The appeal court then determines if the appeal is frivolous. If it is, the appeal is ended and the lawyer is removed from the case. The appellant does have the right to appeal the Anders brief before the Appeal court rules.

Related Articles

Note: Some resources, like the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today, have a limited number of free articles before putting up a paywall.

Jump to Top of Case Details