Friday, November 20, 2015

Edward Francis case

This letter was sent out by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office recommending the re-sentencing of a man who was a juvenile sentenced to life in prison.

From: Starke, Angela []
Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2015 5:11 PM
To: Starke, Angela
Importance: High

Media Friends,

Some of you may know a few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders in the case Miller v Alabama. In March 2015, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that the Miller decision is retroactive.

As a result, some juvenile offenders who had been sentenced to mandatory Life are being resentenced. One of those is Edward Francis. A hearing will be held for Mr. Francis at 9:45 a.m. Friday in courtroom 6A with Judge Keith Carsten.

There is a high probability that he will be released tomorrow – should Judge Carsten allowState Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton has asked Judge Carsten to consider having Francis’s sentence reduced to time served plus 5 years of supervised probation. It is, though, the Judge’s decision.

Mr. Ashton supports Edward Francis’s release. The State Attorney vividly remembers Francis’s acceptance of his responsibility, his humility and his willingness to testify against the actual killer. Francis testified - even though he had nothing to gain as he had already been sentenced to Life. This is an unusual and surprising attitude for a defendant with a Life sentence and the SA thought about this intermittently through the years – to the point that when he retired in 2011, he reached out to Edward Francis to encourage him.

The State Attorney personally visited Mr. Francis this week in regards to a potential release and will attend tomorrow’s hearing.

Background: Edward Francis was convicted for the First-Degree Murder and Kidnapping of Kenneth Maurice Lewis in 1996. While Francis was not the person who killed Lewis, he was held responsible on the Principal theory that whoever commits a criminal offense or aids, abets, counsels, etc., the offense to be committed is a principal and will be charged as such.

Francis was 17 years old when the crime occurred. He has spent nearly the last 20 years in prison.  

Angela Starke
Public Information Officer
Office of the State Attorney

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