In so holding, the Court concluded that the statute was indivisible after Mathis, and it analyzed how to distinguish between means and elements. It reasoned that the statutory language of 893.135 itself strongly suggested that the various ways to commit the offense (e.g., sell, purchase, manufacture, etc...) were means, not elements, because they were all one way to commit the single offense of trafficking. This conclusion was also consistent with how Florida courts had characterized the statute. And the Court distinguished its precedent holding that Fla. Stat. 893.13 was divisible, because the statutory structure and case law interpreting that statute suggested that the ways to commit that drug-trafficking offense were separate elements, not means. That distinction, moreover, was reflected in the standard jury instructions for each statute. Although the Court recognized in footnote 8 that brackets often suggest alternative elements, not means, that was not the case with 893.135, since they just defined alternative ways to commit a single crime; and, in any event, Mathis required the Court to look first to the statutory language and case law, which it found conclusive.
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Cintron: Florida Statute 893.135 is Indivisible
In Cintron v. U.S. Att'y Gen., Nos. 15-12344 & 14352 (Feb. 20, 2018) (Jill Pryor, Marcus, Siler), the Court held that a drug conviction under Fla. Stat. 813.135(1)(c)1 was not an aggravated felony for immigration purposes.