Ashley Toye and Roderick Washington, who were under 18 at the time they took part in the torture and murder of Alexis and Jeffrey Sosa, were back in court yesterday for resentencing. The Supreme court ruled in 2012 in Miller v. Alabama, that mandatory life sentences for juveniles were not proper under the Constitution. Florida passed a new law providing for new sentences for such criminals, and Toye and Washington are among the first to be sentenced under the new law. The judge could have sentenced them to less time, but declined to do so based on the facts of the case that included false imprisonment and torture before the victims were shot. They will have a chance to have their sentences reviewed after 25 years, another provision of the new law that has yet to be tested.
Ashley Toye mug shot
NBC-2 has posted a story with some more details tonight, as does the News-Press.
You can read the appellate opinion yourself on the 2nd DCA website. The court essentially said the other rulings about juvenile sentencing should apply retroactively, which means Toye is entitled to a resentencing hearing. It doesn’t mean she will be getting out of prison any time soon, but it likely means her life sentence will be reduced.
According to Wink news, Ashley Toye’s life sentence has been overturned. Toye was convicted of first degree murder for her involvement in the Cash Feenz murders. Her sentence was challenged when the Supreme Court ruled that automatic life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional. We’ll have more on Crimcourts soon.
A good follow-up from the News-Press regarding the recent Supreme Court ruling abolishing automatic mandatory-life sentences for juveniles. These case were already being re-litigated following the Graham v. Florida ruling a couple of years ago. The judge must hold a new sentencing hearing for the defendants mentioned here (from the Cash Feenz killings case). I agree with David Brener’s take in the article- Washington may still get a life sentence, based on his participation in the case, but that Toye probably should be given a reduction. She was a relatively minor-participant, was under the duress of her controlling, abusive boyfriend at the time, and was very much a juvenile in her mental state. No one disagrees that she deserves severe punishment, but does she warrant the same punishment of the older boys who masterminded and carried out the killings? Some would say yes, but the Supreme Court seems to be sending a message that it may not make sense, depending on circumstances.