Tag Archives: juvenile

More on the Ashley Toye Sentence Being Overturned


Ashley Toye

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.

Ashley Toye’s Life Sentence Overturned

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.

Port Charlotte Teen Arrested for Smoking Marijuana – On the School Bus

A 14 year-old boy was arrested yesterday in Charlotte County for Marijuana possession. After puffing on a joint, he passed it on to one of the other students on the bus. She has also been charged with marijuana possession. As juveniles, they are not facing convictions that will go on their personal records, but their educational records will be forever damaged. Also, in addition to any probation or incarceration they receive, their privilege to drive could be suspended as well. What a blatant disregard for the rules and the law. It’s still a crime in Florida!


Thoughts about Ashley Toye on Dr. Phil

Ashley Toye

Ashley Toye Mug Shot

I want to give credit to Dr. Phil for a thoughtful show on a complex and emotional issue Yesterday’s show discussed the sentencing of Ashley Toye for her involvement in the murders of two teenagers, known locally as the Cash Feenz cases. He did a good job of presenting arguments from both sides, interviewing family members of both Ms. Toye and of the victims. He also got comments from Ms. Toye appellate attorney, Stu Pepper, and Samantha Syoen who is the communications director for the State Attorney’s Office here in Lee County. The show struggled a bit when he went to the screen and started listing bullet points of the arguments. I think the points on both sides were valid, but he was trying to distill a very complex and reasoned discussion into too short a period of time.

More importantly, I’m glad the discussion is being debated on the sentencing of Juveniles. The Supreme Court mandated that States cannot automatically sentence juveniles to life without parole, as was the case for Ms. Toye. However, under current Florida law, Ms. Toye’s sentence cannot be changed. Dr. Phil is not advocating that it must be changed, he is rather making an argument that a hearing should be held to determine if the sentence is appropriate. The Supreme Court found such automatic sentences to be unconstitutional, it would follow that such a hearing should be held. Perhaps a life sentence is appropriate, but the factors are not currently allowed to be analyzed. Both Dr. Phil, and his legal consultant Sunny Hostin, stated on the show that they feel that it would be appropriate to hold such a hearing. Crimcourts agrees that a sentencing hearing weighing all factors is a good idea, and automatic sentences always run the risk of disproportionate injustice. Perhaps the sentence is just in this case, but we cannot know that without considering the evidence and making an informed ruling.

On a side note, Stu Pepper’s movie, The Cover Up, is being shown on the Lifetime Movie network Sunday at 6 am. I’ve seen it, and it is worth watching- set your DVR!


Ashley Toye – Cash Feenz Case is on Dr. Phil This Afternoon

Ashley Toye

Ashley Toye mug shot

I have previously discussed the Cash Feenz cases, including Ashley Toye, who’s sentence is being challenged under recent Supreme Court rulings that call into question automatic life sentences for juveniles, especially when they are not the actual killers. Dr. Phil is looking at the case this afternoon, and it appears that not only will he have her attorney, and friend of the firm, Stu Pepper on the show, but he will also talk to family members of the victims to weigh both sides of the issue. It should be compelling television, and Crimcourts is setting the DVR!


Ashley Toye case coverage

In case you didn’t catch it on Fox4 last night, Mike Mason did a compelling interview with Ashley Toye from prison that aired last night.  Tonight the story will be continued, with an interview with Toye’s current attorney, Stuart Pepper, who is working to reduce her sentence.  They talk about getting her out, but bear in mind that even a best case scenario for her will not result in her immediate release.  Rather, it’s the chance to get out someday.  She is going to serve long time in prison, no matter what.  As her sentence stands, she will get life in prison with no chance of parole, the question is, should the judge have the discretion to let her out someday.  See my recent discussions of juvenile sentencing if you want to read more. #cashfeenz

Ashley Toye – Cash Feenz case update

Ashley Toye

Ashley Toye mug shot

Ashley Toye, the girlfriend of Cash Feenz ringleader Kemar Johnson, had her motion for new sentence considered, and denied a few days ago.  I missed the hearing, unfortunately, but Matt Grant from Fox4 news was there with the details.  Ms. Toye’s case is interesting, as she was a juvenile at the time of the offense, and was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence, in spite of the fact that she was not involved in the actual killing.  Recent Supreme Court decisions cast that automatic life sentence into doubt.  However, a judge in Miami has ruled that the ruling is not retroactive, and Ms. Toye’s judge ruled that the sentence would stand.  Ms. Toye’s attorney, Stu Pepper, intends to continue trying to get her sentence reconsidered.

Off the cuff, it strikes me that even if the ruling isn’t retroactive, it would still hold that if the sentence was unconstitutional, Ms. Toye’s sentence would also be unconstitutional, regardless of the timing of the ruling.  Mr. Pepper has a long road in front of him, as the courts all over the country are dealing with how to handle the Supreme Court’s rulings regarding juvenile sentencing.

Apparently Ms. Toye will be profiled tonight on Fox4, including an interview in jail.  I can’t find the promo online, but I presume it will be during the 10 o’clock newscast.

For more reading, check out the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, which has had extensive coverage of the Graham and Miller ramifications.  Additionally, we have discussed it a few times here on Crimcourts.

Lee Deputy accuse of excessive force, minor accused of assaulting him

Fascinating story from Fox 4’s Mike Mason about an excessive force allegation.  So many cases like this are he said/she said type deals, and the cops frequently get the benefit of the doubt.  This one is on video, and the video seems to contradict the deputy’s statement that she “struck Deputy Hill in the arm and chest multiple times.”  Apparently, their attorney is pushing for the charges to get dropped.  The problem with that is, the video clearly shows the daughter taking a swing at the deputy.  You cannot swing at law enforcement, even if you miss it is still a crime. 

It looks like both parties are in the wrong, and both should be held accountable.  A check at the Lee Clerk indicates that the mother’s charge for obstruction was dropped.  I don’t know the father’s name to follow-up on that case.  I do wonder why the deputy was bothering to arrest those gentlemen for their open containers, when he could’ve just issued citations; especially if they were staying at the house next door.

Matias police report

You can follow Mason on twitter @mikemason72

Commentary on Juvenile Mandatory sentence rulings

I just wanted to share this article from Erwin Chemerinsky on the Supreme Court decisions regarding life sentences for juveniles.  I’ve discussed the topic in this space before.  Nothing earth shattering, but worth a read as a nice distillation of the direction of the law after these decisions.

News-Press article on the Supreme Court rulings on juvenile life

Just a short post to share this article from the News-Press regarding the effects of the Supreme Court rulings on mandatory life sentences for juveniles.  Some good updates and quotes- notably the legislator in Tallahassee who has introduced bills that allow for review.  One thing that’s missing- the other side- such as something from FACDL- the Florida Assoc. of Criminal Defense lawyers.  FACDL has pushed against the bill- trying to get the law to allow parole consideration in less than 25 years (I think I’ve heard 15 discussed).  Regardless, I think it’s great for the state that the discussion is being held.