Prosecutors say sentence is too light

They want an appeals court to increase the prison term to life for a man who wounded a sheriff's officer.

Published June 21, 2005

INVERNESS - The man who was sentenced to serve a 30-year prison term for shooting a law enforcement officer should instead spend the rest of his life behind bars, prosecutors say.

The State Attorney's Office has asked an appellate court to review the case and instruct the trial judge to change the sentence.

The notice of appeal was filed Friday with the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach.

Larry Robbins, 27, was sentenced to serve two concurrent 30-year terms after a jury found him guilty of attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

The shooting occurred early May 30, 2003, when sheriff's Sgt. David M. DeCarlo and three other investigators served a drug-related search warrant at a Citrus Springs house.

Robbins had been staying at the home and answered the door. A gunfight ensued. DeCarlo was shot twice, once in his left shoulder and once in his stomach. Robbins was also hit.

Since then, DeCarlo has gone through a barrage of surgeries and said he has permanent nerve damage and now has daily medical problems.

In filing the notice of appeal, prosecutors allege that Robbins qualifies for sentencing "enhancements" that would push the punishment to life in prison, Assistant State Attorney Rich Buxman said.

The enhancements are that Robbins attacked a law enforcement officer and that he used a firearm.

DeCarlo and prosecutors urged the sentencing judge, Circuit Judge S. Joseph Davis Jr., to impose a life sentence, but the judge didn't grant the request.

Robbins' attorney, Jim Cummins, told the judge that although Robbins' sentence was expected to be harsh, his crime wasn't severe enough to qualify for a life sentence.

On Monday, when asked for a comment on the state appeal, Cummins said: "The state's arguments demonstrate a lack of understanding of the law."

The notice of appeal is a preliminary step in the appeals process. The process could take up to a year.

--Jorge Sanchez can be reached at 860-7313 or e-mail at sanchez@sptimes.com