Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
That a person is considered a convicted felon under Florida law, even when there has been a withholding of adjudication of guilt, has been settled in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and that holding is binding on a panel of the same court.
Defendant Robert A. Grinkiewick appealed his conviction for eight counts of violating 18 U.S.C.S. § 922(g)(1) and two counts of violating 26 U.S.C.S. § 5861(d), (e). The prior conviction that was a necessary element of the § 922(g)(1) convictions was a 1980 guilty plea to a marijuana conspiracy charge, for which the state court withheld adjudication of guilt pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 948.01(3). Defendant argued that withholding adjudication meant that he was not "convicted" as a felon.
Did the court’s act of withholding adjudication mean that the defendant was not “convicted” as a felon for the purposes of 18 U.S.C.S. § 922(g)(1)?
The court disagreed with the defendant, citing another circuit's holding settling that issue in favor of the government. The court found sufficient evidence to prove that defendant had pleaded guilty to the prior offense. The court rejected defendant's argument that he was barred from presenting evidence that a withheld adjudication was not a conviction, holding that this was a purely legal issue, not a jury question. The prosecutor did not make improper statements in closing argument, and defendant presented an aggressive defense and did not appear to suffer for the denial of his continuance request. However, the court agreed to remand for resentencing on the six possession charges, as he could be sentenced only once for those offenses.