Florida Appeals Court: Juvenile Facing 55 Years In Prison Not Serving 'De Facto Life Sentence'

Apr 25, 2016

Credit Florida Department of Corrections

Fifty-five years in prison is not the same as a life sentence, a Florida appeals court ruled Monday. The sentence was handed down to a 16-year-old Jacksonville boy for attempted murder.

Anthony Collins was found guilty of shooting and robbing a man as he walked out of a Southside Kangaroo convenience store in 2005. As our partner News4Jax reported at the time, 16-year-old Collins was one of three suspects charged in the incident.

Collins originally got a life sentence for attempted murder, plus 45 years for armed robbery and carjacking. But when a 2010 Supreme Court ruling outlawed life sentences for juveniles without meaningful opportunity for release, Collins’ sentence was reduced to 55 years total. His attorney appealed, saying 55 years amounts to a de facto life sentence. However, the three-judge First District appeals panel said Monday the sentence was within the court’s discretion.

Collins’s sentence will be reviewed after 20 years. 

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.