TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — In fallout from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling about juvenile sentencing, Florida’s top court said Thursday that a South Florida teenager sentenced to prison for the violent beating of a middle school girl waiting for a bus, should have been entitled to a bond.
The case involves Wayne Treacy, who was 15-years-old when he brutally beat Josie Lou Ratley, also 15 at the time of the attack in 2010.
The Florida Supreme Court, in a 6-0 decision, pointed to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case that prohibited life sentences without a chance of parole for juveniles in non-homicide cases.
It also pointed to part of the Florida Constitution that says people are entitled to pretrial release for non-capital crimes or crimes that do not carry the possibility of life sentences.
The Florida justices overturned lower-court rulings that denied bond for Wayne Treacy, who was charged with attempted first-degree murder in 2010 in the Broward County case. “Because we find that juvenile offenders cannot be charged with a crime punishable by life imprisonment under Florida’s current statutory scheme and Graham (the U.S. Supreme Court case), we hold that such defendants are entitled to bond under the provisions of … the Florida Constitution,” said Thursday’s ruling, which was backed by all justices except Barbara Pariente, who was recused from the case.
Treacy who turned 19 this month was convicted in July 2012 of attempted first degree murder for the attack on Josie Lou Ratley who was left with permanent brain damage. Treacy was wearing steel-toe boots when he repeatedly kicked her in the head after they exchanged a series of heated text messages.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by 10 years probation.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”